The King James Version uses the phrase idle words, which is a rather apt description. The root Greek word is the picture of a worker, but the prefix “a” with it means that the worker is either lazy or unemployed. Not only that but he couldn’t care less (“careless”) about his unemployed, unproductive state.
It’s lazy to use whatever word comes to mind, especially if it’s not the right word.
It takes hard work to say the right word at the right time.
It requires great care to leave the wrong word unspoken.
Just prior to the above quote from Jesus, His critics had just thrown out the line, “He casts out demons through the power of the devil.” They didn’t think about what they were saying, so Jesus said, “If you had thought that through before you said it, you would have realized that it makes no sense. That was an idle, unproductive, lazy thing to say.” In the meantime, who knows how many people heard that throw-away line and then turned away from Jesus.
Words have consequences. Idle, careless words may have eternal consequences. I’ll have to stand before God to explain my careless words some day.
And so will you.