Everyone must give account ‘for every empty word spoken’

Before I became a Christian, I didn’t follow Jesus, but I did not deny or mock Him either.

Before I became a Christian, I didn’t follow Jesus, but I did not deny or mock Him either. Probably due to my church background, I felt offended when others did.

I recall an unrefined individual, under the influence of liquor, saying, “The world would’ve been a better place if they had drowned baby Jesus when he was born!”

I was flabbergasted, almost mentally paralyzed, that anyone would dare to be so irreverent! I extracted myself from the place and that person.

Not long after that, as a new Christian, I was reading through the Gospels. I came to where Jesus said, “I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” (Matthew 12:36)

I was reminded of what that man had said about the Lord, and it troubled me. It also made me a little more conscious and concerned about my own words.

More recently, I was reading some words by Richard Dawkins from his book entitled “God Delusion.” Dawkins is an atheist and well-known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. He described God as, “… the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

As I read Dawkins scathing remarks about the Heavenly Father, I was reminded of that man from many years before, and once again I was flabbergasted and almost mentally paralysed that anyone would dare to utter such sacrilege!

I am concerned for such individuals who articulate careless and judgmental words against God … shaking their fist in His face so to speak. Mathew 12:34 says, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” It is apparent that Dawkins has serious heart problems.

But, do you know what? I don’t have to think of an old acquaintance or read Dawkins. The third commandment says (in modern English), “Don’t misuse the name of God.” That commandment is being broken with frequency and fervency all around me almost everywhere I go … and somehow I am appalled by my old friend and offended by Dawkins, but (to my annoyance) I have apparently acquired a discriminative deafness to my own environment!

I am not fully equating the blasphemous and profane quotes above with the casual and careless conversation all around us. However, while the intensity may differ, I would submit to you that the infraction is essentially the same. So is the accountability factor.

“I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” — Jesus

Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.