Scripture portrays fools as those who have rejected God and/or his ways and are unable or unwilling to appreciate the wisdom of knowing and obeying him.
Here, fools are portrayed as having big mouths. There are consequences to saying foolish things. I don’t like to think about it. I will reap what I sow.
What will I do about my big mouth? Will I save my soul?
Fools are undone by their big mouths; their souls are crushed by their words. | Proverbs 18:7 (The Message Bible)
My speech has an enormous influence for good or ill and is a sure guide to my character. The power of what I say is indisputable. Consider the billions spent on therapy because of what others said about us when we were young. Jesus can fix that but the effect is seen in the natural world. What I say to others matters.
- What is the impact of speech? It has the power of life and death. That sounds extreme but it is true. Words can kill. Words can give life. Will I choose words the bear fruit of life?
- Consider this wisdom later in the same chapter.
- Proverbs 18:21 — Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
- James warns me about the danger of what I say. What I say can ignite a fire. I have seen it. It isn’t pretty. The cynical remark. The snarky response. The evil intent. Yikes. What a mess I can create.
- James 3:1–12 — Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
- Proverbs 15:2 — The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.
- Proverbs 15:4 — A soothing tongue is a tree of lie, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.