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The Harmful Impact of Idle Words

“An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.” (English proverb) One of the characteristics of an idle mind is idle words. One definition of idle I found is; “Idle in all uses rests upon its root meaning, as derived from the Anglo-Saxon “idel” which signifies vain, empty, useless. Idle thus denotes not primarily the absence of action, but vain action — the absence of useful, effective action.”  (English Synonyms Antonyms and Prepositions by James C. Fernald, copyright 1899)

 Jesus warns us about our idle words. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment. By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)  All of us have been guilty of idle words in some form or another. If we are walking in the Light, the Holy Spirit will bring a sharp rebuke when we speak an idle word.

 Jesus predicts Peter’s denial. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen our brethren. But he said to Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.’ Then He said, I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”  Luke 22:31-34

                This happened as Jesus foretold. In the last denial, “’ Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man I do not know what you are saying!’ Immediately, while he was still, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He said to him ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:60-62  Be careful with boasting. Those of us who have been walking close to the Lord can fall into this trap. The Lord’s disciples sitting at the table having communion with the Lord and each other fell into that snare. “Now there was a dispute among them themselves, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.”

Any of us who has a relationship with the Lord and is careless with idle words have been deceived.  When we are casual with our idle words, the Lord in His love for us will correct us. The Lord will pierce our hearts and shed His light on the idle word(s). Peter experienced this when he heard the cock crow three times. “So he went out and wept bitterly.”

One of the most prevalent things that make it difficult in relationships is our idle words. Conversations with one another with the balm of gentleness, love, grace, and centered in Christ will bring peace to the home. I’m reminded of a couple who had an argument not too long after they were married. The young bride asked why she should expect to be married when the young man had a   family history of divorces. The young man replied because our marriage will be centered on Christ Jesus. This marriage has lasted for over forty years.

One of the major difficulties in helping people is the flinging of idle words around as if they are nothing. When people are hurt, fearful, depressed, and living in sin with unforgiveness, resentment, and bitterness, idle words will be the norm not the exception. All those having these issues are candidates for God’s love. They are sinners.

“And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’”  Sinners without Christ, you are the ones He longs to save. Look for someone who can lead you to Christ. Read John chapter three in preparation for that meeting. Those who are His sheep and have lost your way; He loves you. Return to Jesus. “Return, ye backsliding children and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto you; for you are the Lord our God. Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Jeremiah 3:2

Idle words in your life?  Ask the Lord to forgive you for violating His Word. Ask those you have offended with idle words to forgive you. Make a commitment to have a Christ-centered marriage. It will help you to be gentle and sensitive toward your spouse.

Where the Grace blows,