Proverbs 18:6

A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.

What a funny proverb and so true! The fool will even be warned: “You’re asking for it. You’d better stop talking.” But he won’t stop. He must rant and rave; he keeps provoking, keeps sounding off until the listener either literally or figuratively gives him his beating.

Why does the fool invite punishment? Because he is caught up in himself. He has worked himself into a fit, and it feels good to vent. He loves the sound of his voice and cannot see the real effect his words are having. He likes hearing himself talk more than being heard. He does not consider how to communicate; he simply wants to make sound.

The exasperating part of it all is that he does not understand why he receives a violent reaction. He blames the listener for being impatient or mean or unjust or a fool. “All I did was ask a question.” “I was only trying to reason with him.” “I don’t know why he should get so upset.” He does not learn from the reactions of others, even when he develops a history of angering others. He blames bad luck with getting jobs that have difficult co-workers and bosses. His church is filled with problem people and leaders who don’t care. His wife thinks only of herself and his children are moody. He does not make the connection between their behavior and his foolish speech.

We will all at times speak foolishly. Let us at least learn from our mistakes and develop the ability to listen to others.

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