Proverbs 18:7 (ESV)

7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

The tongue is a small member of our body, yet very powerful (James 3:5–10). Proverbs speaks over and over again of the damage that the tongue can do to one’s neighbour (Proverbs 10:11, Proverbs 10:14, Proverbs 10:32; Proverbs 11:9, Proverbs 11:11; Proverbs 12:6, Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 15:14; Proverbs 17:19; Proverbs 20:3).

But the tongue can also do damage to the speaker himself! As this proverb says, a fool’s lips are “a snare to his soul.” One can think, for example, of the trouble one brings to oneself by hasty promises, false accusations, unnecessary revelations, and also false teaching and prophecy. Life is full of regrets over things that should have been left unsaid.

The remedy is also given in Proverbs: “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity” (Proverbs 21:23). This is true of this life and the next, for Jesus himself warns, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36).