I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, Matthew 12:36
Good and Bad Fruit
…The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure. But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”…
Matthew 12:36-37. But I say unto you — You may perhaps think God does not much regard your words, but I assure you, that not only for blasphemous and profane, malicious, false, slanderous, and reviling words, but for every idle word which men shall speak: for all light, vain, trifling expressions; for all useless, unprofitable conversation, and all discourse uttered without seriousness and caution, and which does not conduce to the glory of God and the good of mankind; that men shall speak — At any time, or on any occasion, they shall give an account in the day of judgment — “I cannot think,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that our Lord here uses αργον, idle, merely to signify mischievous. We are certainly accountable for useless as well as wicked discourses, and they will be taken into that last survey which is to determine our character and state: which they whose life is one continued scene of whim, or sneering raillery, would do well seriously to consider. And it was to our Lord’s purpose to observe it here, as it inferred, by the strongest consequence, the danger of such vile and criminal discourses as those of the Pharisees in this case. But discourse tending to exhilarate the spirits is not idle discourse; as the time spent in necessary recreation is not idle time; nor does a wise and gracious God expect from men the life of angels. If any are dissatisfied with the account of things here given, I would beg leave to ask them whether unprofitable talk be not a sinful wasting of time? and whether that must not render a man in some degree criminal before God?” For by thy words — That is, by the evidence of thy words, as well as of thy tempers and works, thou shall be justified, &c. — Shalt be either acquitted or condemned; since by the tenor of these the disposition of thy heart is shown, and thy true character discovered. Therefore these shall be produced in evidence for or against thee at the great day, and by this evidence thou shalt then stand or fall.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
12:33-37 Men’s language discovers what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are of. The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, that we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
But I say unto you … – Christ closes this address to his malignant and wicked hearers by a solemn declaration that for these things God would bring them into judgment. Therefore. They who had spoken so malignantly against him, could not escape.
Idle word – This literally means a vain, thoughtless, useless word; a word that accomplishes no good. Here it means, evidently, “wicked, injurious, false, malicious, for such” were the words which they had spoken.