“For every idle word that men shall speak, they shall
give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36).
In the snowy mountains of Switzerland there are regions where the guides warn travelers not to utter a single word, because the slightest vibration of air can cause the overhanging snow to move and create an avalanche, carrying everything along with it into the abyss. Who would think that one word could have such terrible consequences? However, the moral effect of our words is far greater. The thoughtless words which we so often and so easily throw to the winds can affect events for centuries, and the great day of judgment will reveal the terrible consequences of our words.
On that day we will answer “for every idle word.” Is it not awful to think of the multitude of words which we have uttered and which will confront us with implacable clarity? “Idle words” are those which spring from an idle life, they are words which are unnecessary, thoughtless, often harmful. Such empty words, passing in idleness from mouth to mouth, often blacken a person’s moral character, inflict wounds, gloat over the misfortune of others, and from idle become cruel. “Idle words” also include talk which intrudes into the privacy of family life, which under the guise of a flat joke or inappropriate remark can shake the foundation of a family’s happiness.
One can never be careful enough in the use of words. May our words be truthful, plain and sincere, may they be good-natured and loving. “May your word always be with grace,” says Apostle Paul. The thought of God’s judgment should serve to curb our tongue. We would speak with greater wisdom, if we would constantly remember that our words are heard in heaven, and that they will serve to either acquit us or condemn us on the final day. How sacred, how pure, how truthful would be each word we utter, if we would remember that one of the appellations of Jesus Christ Himself was – “the Word.”
(From “Day by day” – a book of spiritual reflections)