By Simon Ifeanyi Ezeh
Every evil, abusive, injurious speaking or indignity expressed against sacred things and every careless or divinely inoperative word is considered idle. – Matt 12:31-37, Ecc. 5:2-7
Idle words have no particular purpose or effect with respect to God and always lead to sin. According to Jesus Christ in this passage, a man’s speech reveals his nature: his words are part of his fruits by which he must be identified and judged. The word “part” is used here because religious people say good things in pretence but do the opposite as in Matt 23:1-2. So, a man’s fruits must include his deeds apart from his words so there is no hiding place for hypocrisy.
Words are the most powerful things that God has made. Every activity falls or rises on the altar of words. Wars, friendship, enmity, marriage, divorce, wealth, poverty, peace, life and death and everything God made are all products of spoken words. God created everything by speaking. Jesus Christ the Messiah came to save the world (human beings) by just speaking or revealing the truth to us. I have read and reread the words of Jesus Christ in the Bible and never found a place where He laughed, joked or spoke without a godly effect or purpose.
If Jesus Christ, the LORD, never spoke idly, why should his disciples do?
A MOURNER CANNOT BE OR TOLERATE A JESTER or COMEDIAN. Isa 53:1-12
The above scripture is clearly a messianic scripture as it aptly describes the messiah’s life and purpose. He came to a kingdom or territory that is opposed to his own kingdom and that explains the degree of hostilities meted to Him right from birth in a manger to His crucifixion on Calvary. It’s vital to note that He was fully aware of the degree of hatred and hostility that awaited him on earth before coming and that he agreed, of His own accord, to come to this planet earth and free man from both human and satanic captivity by revealing the truth to man.- Jn 18:37, 8:31-32.
He came from Gods Kingdom to Satan’s kingdom (the earth, where we live) to teach us that the Kingdom in which we live is fundamentally flawed and irredeemably destined for destruction; that we should transfer to God’s kingdom rather than engage in the futile effort of trying to change the world or make it better for people to live in. An ideal balance of environmental phenomena (greenhouse effect, carbon cycle, water cycle etc.) does not exist and no amount of international politics and diplomacy can achieve world peace. The apocalyptic language of both science and religion in rendering the earth’s history is in consonance with this position. He taught us what to do to qualify for that kingdom He came to introduce.
Given this background, we can now understand why He had to suffer as much as He did and why He rejected the power-sharing offer the devil made Him at the beginning of his ministry. Remember that the “king” of this world’s kingdom, the devil saw that he could not defeat Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, so he pleaded with Jesus for conditions of peace between them – Lk 14:31-33 and Matt 4:8-10.
Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ was not going to accept that which has no value whatsoever. Everything in this world is worthless. So, He rejected the devil and his hopeless offer and commanded all his followers to do the same. This is why the devil and everything in his kingdom, including man, were opposed to Jesus Christ and His cause and must be opposed to you if you are Jesus’ disciple.
So, Isa 53:1-12 describes our Savior Jesus Christ: how unattractive He was (and is) to people of this world (especially Christians), how He mourned practically all through His days on earth because the people He came to save are totally ignorant of their condition and the extreme levels of hostility that was meted to Him by a kingdom that fought desperately to retain its subjects and authority. It’s practically impossible for a man of the nature of Jesus Christ to speak or put up with idle words.
As a people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ we do not only speak idle words, we pay other people to entertain us by speaking idle words to us while we sit down to drink, laugh and “enjoy.” It’s not possible for a son of God to understand how evil the world is and not be in a perpetual mournful mood. If two enemies are kept in a room, they are most unlikely to be found greeting each other let alone sharing a joke. Any time it happens that they greet and laugh together, they have reconciled.
Any man that is comfortable and at peace with the systems of this world belongs here. No miracle or magic can take such a man to the kingdom of God. Everyone that is a true follower of Jesus Christ the Messiah must possess His attributes as outlined in Isa 53 because He came to do all he did in order for us to see him, learn to do the same things and become like he. He didn’t do things in our stead as some of us suppose: He set examples for us to follow John 13:13-17, Lk 6:40
A SHEEP CAN’T AFFORD TO SPEAK IDLE WORDS AMONG WOLVES.
A man speaks or is entertained with idle words when he decides to forget God. But, Jesus Chris says that we, his followers, are in this world as sheep among wolves. We are an endangered species. It means his followers are marked men and are in the most wanted list of the devil and his agents. A direct implication of this for his followers is that they must be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves.If a son of God causes harm of any degree to anybody, he qualifies to be harmed by the enemy or his agents – Matt 26:52.
A sheep among wolves is in an extremely dangerous and uncomfortable position where he can’t afford the luxury of careless speaking or listening to a careless speaker. The fact that one man was possessed by six thousand demons portrays the world as the worst place for human occupation – Mk. 5:1-17. The dangerous nature of the sheep’s position requires him to be extremely wise. This is contrary to the classical Christian theology that man cannot apply wisdom and logic to the things of God so that every thinking should be relinquished to God.
One then wonders why we were given brains and minds by God! Jesus Christ our Lord commands us here to exercise good and logical judgment and not to suspend our brains and perish for lack of understanding. Whenever we engage in idle speech, there won’t be any place for good judgment or clear and logical thinking and sin is inevitable. A sheep of Jesus pasture should not revel in idle speech as a means of unwinding neither should he take solace in same during periods of depression. The good shepherd, Jesus Christ, must be the source of everything to His sheep. Matt 11:28-30; John 4:13-14; John 15:5.
WOE UNTO YOU THAT LAUGH NOW – Lk 6:25
What is the connection between idle worlds and laughter? What is the problem with laughter and why is our Lord Jesus Christ sentencing those that “laugh now” to a cursed eternity without God after their natural lives? There is no deep thinker that would believe Paul the “apostle” who, in spite of this kind of sublime and dread sovereign declarations from the Messiah, goes ahead to write about a salvation that is free of charge. If I would have issues with God for “just” being happy, laughing and enjoying myself, even without killing anybody or committing any sexual sin, then the gospel that Paul preached must be antithetical to that of the Kingdom of God.
Most of the time, idle words make us laugh and we as God’s children can’t afford to celebrate anything that has no godly mileage. This prescribes a life of perpetual mourning and sobriety for a child of God. The most important reason a child of God must be unhappy in this world is not because of sickness or lack of material things but because the world is ungodly. A child of God is like fish out of water in this world because everything is upside down with respect to God’s kingdom. The world’s legal system is made against the poor as the rich is insulated from punishment by the same law that indicts them.
It’s the majority ideology that rules the world and righteousness is now about what the majority favours. The gospel of the kingdom of God has been changed by the pastors to suit their own purposes and the resultant effect is that the church,like the world, is executing the same ungodly agenda of oppressing the poor. Jesus Christ is now defined according to the needs of the preacher. Sometimes He is a capitalist who has come to empower Christians to take over the wealth of the world; some other times, he is a racial emancipator who ensures that the race of His followers dominates every other race on earth and at some other times, he has come to kill anybody that his followers hate.
So, who he is depends on what the people want. They also have made him a politician who supports their political parties and ideologies. Now, which child of God would be happy enough to laugh in the face of all these? How possible is it for a child of God to be comfortable in this wicked world? All those who laugh now because they are comfortable and happy with the state of things in this world are ungodly and shall be cursed in eternity – Ez.9:1-11.
A child of God must be very angry with this world and shall show this by constantly asking for the reality of Gods kingdom where everything is the opposite of what this world offers. Who was John the Baptist? How did he lead his life in this world? Why did he reject human society and preferred isolation in caves and why did Jesus Christ the Messiah approve of him as the greatest of all prophets? – Matt 11:7-19Heb., 11:36-38
IDLE WORDS ARE LIES AND MUST BE AVOIDED LIKE THE PLAGUE
Let your yes be yes. Matt 5:33-37
One always has to remember that idle words always lead to sin. A careful inspection of the above scriptural passage will teach us a number of spiritual lessons.
First, we cannot swear because it is sacrilegious to do so. Second, a man is unable to bring the circumstances of life under his control without God so he could still default even after swearing. Third, any addition to a “yes” or a “no” is, most times, a loop hole to avoid commitment. For instance, a man who promises to repay his debt if he gets paid his salary by month end is saying that if the creditor doesn’t get paid or hear from him, he (the creditor) should just know that the debtor didn’t get paid his salary. So, the creditor receives the caveat and may continue to believe that his debtor had still not been paid just for not hearing from him, even if the debtor had been paid.
There is no point of promising to attend a friend’s wedding “if it doesn’t rain” since it’s obvious we cannot stop it from raining and even if it does rain, it would be seen by all parties involved and there would be no place for apportioning blames. Any other answer we add to a “yes” or “no” is idle and evil. Readers should note that an answer can be “yes” even if it’s not Y-e-s. E.g., “How old are you”? A “yes” answer could be, “I am 35.” If one gives an answer like “I am almost 36”, or I am less than 40”, he would have added an idle word which makes the answer ambiguous.
The value of the spoken word cannot be overstated since our justification or condemnation depends on it.
PROVOCATION AND IDLE WORDS
James 3:1-13; Num. 20:7-13 Ps. 39:1&2; Matt. 14:1-12
One of the times we must keep quiet is when we are provoked either to a display of extreme anger and displeasure or to a show of full satisfaction and happiness. From the four passages of scripture as quoted above, it is clear that at the time of provocation, the enemy, the devil, is right in front of the person or people involved, encouraging or seducing them to sin by speaking carelessly.
This is a clear validation of the Lord’s instruction to sobriety since someone in a mournful mood is most unlikely to give in to emotional outbursts especially if the emotion is evil. That is why the Lord commands us to take charge of our emotions and ensure we are not carried away- Prov. 4:23. our relationship with God is not emotional. God responds to the truth whenever we present it and not to our emotions.
Let’s think about Jesus Christ, the man who initiated the process of doing the will of God. At a certain stage of His ministry, He prayed a prayer that bothered on emotional pressure and we know that God did not alter his destiny in response to that prayer. He prayed that God may change His exit strategy, by taking away “the cup” and perhaps replacing it with another method of taking him out of this world, etc. but God was not (and is not) emotional about the situation. Instead, God empowered and assisted him to drink “the cup.”
If God had answered that emotional prayer, how could we have known that the Good shepherd cannot die? Although he had raised many people from the dead in his ministry, it was necessary for him to expose death as a lie and an empty threat for a child of God and to prepare a place for us to where He would receive us – Jn 14:1-3.
He prepared a place for us by first demonstrating the hollow threat by death and getting us to the place of that knowledge, where he is. Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ did not sin by responding to provocation; rather He kept His cool and spoke precisely as he was instructed to speak – John 12:47-50.
IDLE WORLDS FROM THE PULPIT. Lk 17:1-2; Jer. 23:16-17; Matt 24:15
When a man speaks idle words, he does so to his condemnation but a “Pastor” speaks idle words to his own condemnation and to that of those who listen to them. That is the meaning of Lk 17:1&2 as quoted above. It stresses the fact that Pastors’ sins have multiplier effects and shall attract graver consequences than that of an ordinary person. It used to be that the prophets hid themselves from the leaders of the people since the leaders’ authority is not from God hence the reason they always killed the prophets but that has changed now.
What obtains now is that today’s “Prophets” or “Pastors” have trained in the schools of idle speaking so they always have the “right” words for the leaders albeit idle and the leaders are very happy with them. These schools of idle speaking may be seen as schools of theological or motivational studies but that doesn’t change the real meaning of what they stand for. The situation discussed here is very grave in that we are not even aware of it and that is precisely why we travel overseas to study theories that have nothing whatsoever to do with God and obtain degrees that “qualify” us as experts in God whereas we neglect the words of Jesus Christ which are the very words of eternal life.
After we have studied all manner of vanities that masquerade as godly theology, we go on to proclaim” blessings” on sinners and tell them not to worry, that God is very pleased with them. We call out proud people to come and brag about their wealth before the church in the name of testimonies and we celebrate them, speaking all manner of idle words to them. How are “pastors” going to escape the wrath of God if they don’t repent now? Matt. 23:33.
Is it not idle speaking to tell someone that he is saved when the Lord says that only those who endure to the end shall be saved? Can a man’s end be in his life time? If God has “given us everything richly to enjoy” as some believe and teach, why does a Christian have to “endure to the end? Can we enjoy and endure at the same time? Matt. 10:22; 24:13. A lot of the time, we hear our” Pastors” say, “Take it”, or Receive it” and the things we are told to take or receive are houses, cars, promotion in our offices husbands and wives, money, etc.
Is it that people were not able to marry, build houses, get promoted in their offices, etc. before the coming of Jesus Christ? Does the gospel of the kingdom of God promise that a born-again person must be successful in life? Of course, it doesn’t. In fact, it’s the opposite: the gospel is a consolation to those who have lost out in this world (the poor), a promise of a kingdom where the standards are not based on money Lk 4:18-19; Lk 6:20-49. So, it’s idle speaking to promise people material things (which they can get whether or not they are Christians) as a reward for following Christ.
The Index of an Idle Speech Lk 16:15
The hallmark of an idle speech is in its popularity. Every speech that must be popular in this world must be ungodly and the only reason we tell lies in this world is to please somebody. Most times, we say ‘nice’ things to people in order to please them but the things we say are lies and we know it.
I don’t know of a popular prophet in the whole scripture who was not hounded day and night in order to silence him just as I don’t know a present-day prophet that is at least locked up for the gospel’s sake. It was so because they spoke the words of God and people don’t want to hear the words of God while today “prophets” are very popular, and nobody is persecuting them since they speak idle words which the world likes. In fact, they either join or form political parties and work hard to change this world through idle speaking even though we know from Jesus Christ that this world is irredeemably evil. Politicians, pastors, Radio/TV presenters, advertising practitioners, lawyers, film makers or actors, most musicians, diplomats, comedians, etc. are professional idle speakers and are counselled by this writing to repent or perish.
If and when a child of God must say anything, he must say or speak the word of God as the LORD has commanded him. So, a child of God cannot joke or jest neither can he entertain any form of speaking whose message does not ultimately lead to the glory of God.