Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 8:1-3, Mark 3:20-230, Matthew 12:22-45, Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 8:19-21, Mark 4:1-9, Matthew 13:1-9, Luke 8:4-8, Mark 4:10-20
And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you. Matthew 12:36-37
Every idle word…
Lord help me! I’m in trouble. Where’s the duct tape?
I looked up the word “idle” in Word Studies in the New Testament hoping for a reprieve, but none was to be found…
Idle (ἀργὸν). The word is compounded of ἀ, not, and ἔργον, work. An idle word is a nonworking word; an inoperative word. It has no legitimate work, no office, no business, but is morally useless and unprofitable.
Friends, Jesus wasn’t just talking about profanity, He was talking about gossip, criticism, whining, complaining, etc; anything that isn’t adding value to people’s lives.
Let’s look at the context in which this verse is written (Matthew 12:22-37).
Jesus was getting it from all sides:
- The crowds were following Him everywhere; He couldn’t get enough time to Himself to grab a bite to eat
- His family was trying to pull Him away from the crowds saying, “He’s out of his mind”
- The teachers of religious law were saying He was possessed by Satan
When the teachers accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan He took great offense, not because they were doubting Him, but because they were speaking against the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit; which the religious leaders should have recognized. Jesus gave a timeless warning that had grave consequences against speaking against the power of the Holy Spirit.
It was in this serious setting that Jesus warned us about idle words. He prefaced His warning with a word picture, which was the common way to communicate in Jewish culture.
A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. –Matthew 12:33
If our heart is good our words will be good. If our heart is bad our words will be bad.
In Jesus’ day the only words they dealt with were spoken words; very few people could write. Fast forward 2,000 years…how many words to you speak, write, type, or text in a 24 hour period?
Before you run to the garage and get your duct tape, remember Jesus sees and know our heart, so even if we keep our “idle” words from coming out, we’re still accountable for them.
What can we do about our idle words?
Don’t focus on the words…
Focus on getting your heart tuned into the Holy Spirit; ask Him to create in you a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) and your words will follow.
Heavenly Father, we want our words and our heart to be pleasing to You. Lord, You made us, You know our human failings. Please forgive us when we fail; speak loudly to us when we do. We say with David, create in us a clean heart. Jesus, make us like You!
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:10-23, Luke 8:9-18, Mark 4:21-29, Matthew 13:24-30, Mark 4:30-34, Matthew 13:31-52, Mark 4:35-41, Matthew 8:23-27, Luke 8:22-25