There is no rewind function on our words. We can never truly take back what we say, as much as we might wish to from time to time. How important, therefore, that we learn from the vivid imagery of this proverb. Do you want your speech to be thoughtful and measured, or will you allow it to be more like a gushing, uncontrolled torrent?
Sometimes in everyday conversation we all speak without thinking—without weighing our words. By God’s grace, usually the impulsive speech of Christians isn’t full of wickedness and evil, but it can certainly be foolish, as the apostle Peter demonstrated on several occasions. For example, after Jesus described the necessity of his death in no uncertain terms, Peter blurted out, “‘Never, Lord!’ . . . ‘This shall never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:22). When Jesus told his apostles they would be scattered as a result of his death, Peter let loose another gusher: “Even if all fall away, I will not” (Mark 14:29). In each case, Peter was reacting emotionally rather than responding thoughtfully. He trusted his own gut assessment of the situation. In each case his assessment was wrong, and therefore his words were foolish and wrong.
Only the fool speaks in haste, without contemplating the potential implications and ramifications of his words. Only the fool has enough misplaced confidence in his or her own wisdom to trust in the value of whatever unedited thoughts may come to mind. Sad to say, we are all fools from time to time, just like Peter. On one occasion, Peter’s words even seem to have crossed the line into being wicked and evil (see Matthew 16:23). And although Peter’s life is regularly used to illustrate hasty speech, I doubt he was more foolish than you or I. Aren’t you thankful that your worst verbal gushings haven’t been preserved as a negative example for the ages?
Excerpted from A Proverbs Driven Life by Anthony Selvaggio