My heart started to race. It felt as if it would leap from my chest. Heat flooded my body. My breath came quicker and was more shallow. Maybe i needed to hear it again, I heard it wrong. I went back to my phone and played it again. “you will give an account on judgement day for every idle word you speak.”
For a moment I justified. “It’s just words.” Then I blamed. “It is not my fault I love to talk.” And I do love to talk.
My mind immediately turned to a conversation that happened about a month earlier. My words are strong. Sometimes I will say something without much thought to how others around me might perceive them. However those idle words, could certainly make someone who didn’t know me feel uncomfortable. At minimum they might think I would actually respond as my words indicate.
A friend had been telling a group of us about an encounter at a local fast food store. Another customer had taken the liberty to make racially charged comments towards her and her children. I admit I have never faced that type of behavior. I think it is uncalled for, especially from an adult in the presence of a child.
I spoke up asking if she stood up for herself. My immediate words were probably something along the lines of wanting to lay hands on the person, and not the holy kind. She talked about the example she had to set for her children. She talked about how her actions would be interpreted and that even verbally speaking up would have caused more problems.
It was certainly not a perspective I had. Of course, despite my initial comment I would not incite a physical altercation. I have never hit anyone in my life other than spanking my kids or a friendly punch to the arm of a friend. However, I would have wanted to speak with the adult about disrespecting my children. I might have wanted to address the ignorance of racial disparaging comments. However, my friend had very valid points to her stance. Our discussion led to some insight that even in my small community there is still open racial discrimination. I didn’t realize it was such a problem.
Then about a week ago, I was with another set of individuals. We were discussing biracial parenting and adoption. I used that story as an example of what is still occurring in our community. However, I also had to add my idle words of the laying on of hands of the not so holy kind. These people didn’t really know me. I am sure that wasn’t a phrase they here often to express frustration at someone. They might actually think I would entice physical violence.
That is just one example of idle words. I know that if I asked, God could flood my mind with multiple -isms that I speak in jest. Saying one thing when I really mean another. Saying I would do something, that I would never do. What if I thought first about how those around me, whether they know me well or not, might interpret what I am saying? What if I only spoke the words that God instructed me to share? What if I stayed silent?
This scripture still sends me into a panic. I know that when God reveals a deeper truth for it we are responsible for it. I am thankful that His grace covers our weakness. However, I also know that I have to learn to control my tongue and be obedient to not speak just because I can. One day I will have to answer for every word idle word I speak.