How to Eliminate Speaking Idle Words in Your Life

by | Aug 31, 2015 | Instructing | 22 comments

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭35-37‬)

We sometimes speak idle words without ever knowing. This article will help you eliminate this problem.

Have you ever said or heard someone say, “What I’m about to tell you is highly confidential, but I’m telling this to you because you’re my friend…”?

Or, “I know that it’s none of my business, but let me tell you what I think about…”

Or, “I’m not 100% sure about this, but I heard that…”

Do these statements sound familiar to you?

These types of comments are usually heard in our conversations when we’re about to speak idle words.

When Jesus spoke in the text about empty words, He was referring to the use of vain, superficial, and trivial words.

What Jesus is communicating here is that it’s best to avoid an idle word because of its uselessness.

Useless words are most of the time the cause of slander and defamation.

It’s normal for the average person to speak words in a free and careless way without thinking about the consequences.

We, in America, are privileged to enjoy freedom of speech, and this allows people to express their opinion on any given matter freely.

Even though this is a beautiful right, it also creates the possibility for people to run their words freely, and fall into the trap of speaking idle words.

For unbelievers, idle words can be positive, and in many instances funny, as they saturate TV and media.

Therefore, it’s pointless to address them with this warning of Jesus, because according to the Bible, they’re blinded.

On the other hand, Christians must pay very close attention to this warning. That’s because we’re capable through the Holy Spirit, to grasp the Spiritual concepts of the Word of God.

We, as Christians, must not allow ourselves the freedom to use idle words.

That’s because, for every spoken word, we’re going to give an account to God. Plus, every word we say has tremendous power either to bless or to destroy.

Understanding the Origin of Idle Words

Idle words mostly occur when gossiping.

Therefore, to understand the source of idle words in our conversations, we must understand the source of gossip in our conversations.

One of the definitions of gossip according to the Fairfax dictionary is, “A conversation involving malicious chatter or rumors about other people.”

The purpose of someone that uses idle words is to speak evil, to complain about someone else, or to create enmity among people.

The motivations behind doing this are diverse. For instance, jealousy can motivate a person to speak many idle words.

Additionally envy, or disagreeing about other people’s actions can also trigger an emotion of hate, bitterness, and a desire for revenge.

According to the Bible, all these feelings are enlisted in what the Apostle Paul refers to as “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5: 19-21).

The Apostle says that those who habitually practice those things will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

That’s why we have to dig deeper into this topic so we can avoid using idle words.

How to Avoid Idle Words

Even though to many Christians the phrase WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) sounds more like a cliche, it’s still something of extreme practical value.

This is exactly what must ask ourselves to avoid idle words.

Let’s consider these words of Jesus In Mathew 18:15:

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’

And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

(‭Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭15-17‬ NKJV)

This passage is the perfect remedy for avoiding gossip, and consequently idle words.

In that portion of Scripture, Jesus tells us that when we’re offended by someone, we’re first to call that person out on their offense “BETWEEN YOU AND HIM ALONE.”

That’s because we need to forgive them.

It’s unfortunate that in most cases inside the Church, the first thing we do when we’re offended is to tell someone else about it.

Instead, we’re supposed to go and speak the truth in love to the person that caused the offense.

If we’re not successful in the first step, we move on to the second one.

The second step is to take one, or two more people to confront the offender.

Finally, if this does not convict the offender, the final step is to tell it to the church.

What does the Bible say about gossip?

1.  “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.” (‭Leviticus‬ ‭19‬:‭16‬ NKJV)

2.  “He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, But a man of understanding holds his peace. A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭11‬:‭12-13‬ NKJV)

3.  “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.” (‭Proverbs‬ ‭26‬:‭20-22‬ NKJV)

The Great Damage Caused by Idle Words

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue.

It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

‭-James‬ ‭3‬:‭6-12‬ NKJV

We can cause so much damage when we’re careless with our words, especially nowadays, with the use of social media.

Whatever we say or post about someone else is going to spread. It could spread slowly or quickly, but once it comes out, the damage is irreversible.

Can we cut a pillow open, throw the feathers out of the window, and then later on collect all the feathers back together?

The answer is no.

It’s the same thing when we use idle words.

As James encourages us in the text, we have to control our tongues, and avoid idle words at all cost, in order to avoid the destruction that they cause others.

Let’s conclude with the warning of Jesus in the opening verse, but now with a more profound understanding of idle words.

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭36-37‬ NKJV)


  1. Cheryl Edmunds

    Thank you, David & God bless you! This is a message we all need to hear over & over again!!

  2. Regina Crandell

    Definitely filled with the Holy Spirit. Awesome message. We have to watch what we say because you will have what you say whether it be good or bad. Death and Life are in the power of or tongue. God bless

  3. Linda Russell

    Thank you! I need to read this everyday.

  4. Jerome

    Excellent description! You have made me so much wiser. God bless you.

  5. Yoli Elena Johnson

    Wow, powerful stuff! I was actually studying about the Sabbath & how it’s s form of worship. Through that study I read Isa 58:13 which brings up “idle words”. David, I’m glad you blogged about this topic. If it’s important to God we as believers need to take heed!

  6. Chris

    Thank you for the wisdom…i know this but sometimes find myself speaking idle words…thinking i do good by saying to someone i care that they need to stay away or not trusting this or that person because of what ever reason(thinking im helping them)….i want to know if God would forgive me if i repent and try to be more conscious off what i say or will i be condemned irrespective…
    Kind regards

  7. Yolanda Bradford

    Dear Mr David



  8. Pastor Fred

    Great study! God is coming for a Spotless Bride.
    Fred Espinoza

  9. Pastor Lowell

    God bless you brother! This is a very powerful teaching and needs to be taught throughout the body of Christ, Our words will be so much more powerful affective and meaningful when they are channeled through the filters of the Holy Spirit and a heart that has been purified by him …Thanks again !

  10. Sister in Christ

    May you continue to be used by God during this crucial time when things are changing at a rapid rate ranging from same sex marriages to Wars and rumors of wars to technology advancing rapidly. May the Lord give you wisdom to continue to post topics that are vital to our soul in order to put on the full armor of God and become strong soldiers. Topics that are not often preached about or discussed often.

    Vendiciones para tu familia. Que la paz y uncion del espiritu santo este contigo

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  12. Tamecia

    I Thank God! For blessing this young man for bringing this very helpful message that was very h.
    Helpful to me and my life and my love ones. God bless you

  13. Renee

    Thank you

  14. Marcelle

    Thank you,we so many times we underestimate the power of our words and how destructive it can be once used in a negative connotation or because we feel hurt ,and doing so we are not walking in love ,however this should be taught on in the churches more often we as born again believers and followers of Christ is suppose to be different in every sense of the word. May the words of our mouth and meditation of our heart be acceptable (as a sweet aroma)before God Amen.

  15. PatroZenia

    Yes definitely true and thank you very much. God bless you more and more brother in Christ.

  16. Javan Sheunda

    Comment…our freedom in Christ has been violated by the words that we say.
    poul say if we eat each other(speak against) be aware we not devour each other,psalm 139 be part of our daily walk.
    thanks mr, david

  17. Sylvernus

    Carry on brother, more wisdom from above…thanks for the article.

  18. Jisu Ojonugwa

    I’m grateful for this write up, Thank God

  19. David W Finney Jr

    Thank U David. I was led to this post by the LORD my GOD while Studying the Weekly Sabbath Day and restarting my journey back to GOD, (I fell quite a while ago and this is my first day back trying to get up off the ground and back onto that narrow path). Your post touched me so strongly that there is no doubt in my mind I was led here by the Holy Spirit per instructions from GOD. So, I thank for posting this and I thank GOD for inspiring U to post it.

  20. shyan

    thanks for the help. what if you said something and didnt mean it? I mean now I’m fearing over the things I said…but this was very helpful and understanding.

  21. Debbie

    Great question Shyan!

    The Bible says…
    But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing John 1:9

    The more we read and understand the WORD the more we learn what is sinful in us and how we can become more like Jesus. We are not powerful enough on our own to make these changes no matter how hard we try. Fortunately we serve a compassionate and loving God who works every situation for the good of those who love Him!

    Repent is seen as a scary word today. It just means saying Lord I’m sorry for doing x agaisnt you (or others). Thank you for your LIVING WORD to guide me. Forgive me of my sin. In Jesus Name.

    And that’s it. Know that you are indeed forgiven. Keep praying if temptation persists and do your best to withstand it.

    Thanks for such an amazing article pointing out one of those things that is so common in society we may not even know it could be wrong against God.

  22. Helene

    When a believer grows up in a Christian home where there is an influence from gossip, criticism, judgment, it can feel like bondage in breaking free of it. In my Christian family, where we were church goers and practicers of Christianity, there was a lot of wrong thinking, speaking, feeling. Now that I’m more mature, I’ve understood that there is a walk of the Spirit that means ridding ourselves of those kinds of deep carnal roots. Breaking free of life long issues cab be a long process. It can involve breaking free of deep habits, patterns of thinking, mindsets that are a battle to get rid of. I’m in my late 60’s and still working on that. I was praying not long ago about why I haven’t prospered more, despite serving God faithfully, tithing, giving, forgiving. God let me know in prayer that I didn’t like people. That I had to break from that mindset and like people but dislike some of their behaviors. This is critically important to a believer. Disliking someone, even if they have ugly behaviors is a sin. It is a spiritual hinderance to ones spiritual freedom. We need to put the Word in our heart and mind consistently in get out of carnality. It’s the Word that cleanses and makes alive. It is a reminder to me to have great mercy with others because God has been so long suffering with these generational bondages in my family/life.

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