Idle words are empty rhetoric or insincere or exaggerated talk. Jesus warns us of idle words because we must not only give an account of them on the day of judgment. We will also be justified and condemned because of them. But what does this really mean? Does this mean we will need to explain why we spoke those words? No, but rather we will be given the same situation which we spoke of on our lives.
How can you, being evil, speak good things?
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 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.Matt 12:33-37
An evil person pretending to be good, speaks good things. It is like the Pharisees who pretended to be righteous on the outside speaking good things but their hearts were evil. Idle words are good to hear and sometimes encouraging to us but the speaker doesn’t mean it.
Peter’s idle words
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.John 13:36-38
Peter claimed to lay down his own life for Jesus. These are idle words because he didn’t really mean to lay down his life.
Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I [will] not [be.]”Mark 14:29
Peter also compared himself with others by saying how he will not be made to stumble even if others stumble. Hence, Peter was tested to see if he will really stumble or not based on his own idle words.
Out of your own mouth I will judge you, [you] wicked servant…Luke 19:22
If we pass comments on the troubles of others without putting ourselves in their shoes or without seriousness or for others to hear our comments, whatever we spoke will be placed on us as judgement to test us. We must be very careful not to speak any idle words because they will be tested on us.