But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Read Chapter 12
George Leo Haydock
That every idle word. By idle words, St. Jerome expound words that are neither profitable to the speaker nor the hearer: but St. Chrysostom says, false and abusive language. (Witham)
If, of every idle word, how much more of blasphemy, as when you say in Beelzebub I cast out devils. (Menochius)
This shows there must be a place of temporal punishment hereafter, where these slighter faults shall be punished. (Challoner)
If of every idle word we must make account before God in judgment, and yet shall not for every such idle word be damned eternally, there must necessarily be some temporal punishment in the next life. (Bristow) ...
This, too, goes with what was said before, and the meaning is that on the day of judgment each person must render an account of his or her words. If an idle word which by no means edifies the listeners is not without harm to the speaker, how much more will you Pharisees, who criticize the works of the Holy Spirit and say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of devils, have to render an account of your criticism? An idle word is what is spoken without benefit to the speaker and the listener. We overlook serious things and utter frivolous things and tell old wives’ tales. One who acts like a buffoon and makes mouths drop with boisterous laughter and who utters disgraceful things— that person shall be held to account, not for an idle word but a slanderous word. . ...
And that is idle, which is not according to the fact, which is false, which has in it unjust accusation; and some say, that which is vain also, for instance, provoking inordinate laughter, or what is filthy, and immodest, and coarse.