Be careful what you say . . . you may being laying a trap for yourself with your words. That is the truth that today's proverb is trying to get us to understand. The Hebrew phrase used here paints an interesting picture for us. The original Hebrew reads, "In the transgression of the lips is an evil snare." What is even more fascinating about this phrase is that the snare is actually a baited trap. Of course we know that a trap is baited so that the animal that we desire to capture is lured to it. The animal is captured when it focuses on the bait rather than the surroundings of that bait. Some animals can even sense the danger of the trap, but ignore it because they become so fixated on the bait in it.
What captures this fool is the fact that he does not watch what he is saying. The transgression of his lips is his unwillingness to submit how he speaks to God and God's law. The word here meant a rebellious act - here meaning the rebellious speech of this man's mouth. His rebellion is against God and against God's warnings to be careful what he says. This man ignores God's cautions to those who say too much - and who see no need to put a guard over their mouths. The bait in their trap is actually their desire to have no one or no law govern what they can say. The undeniable truth of life is that we can say whatever we want, whenever we want, to whomever we want . . . once. The ability to repeat those words - or to be able to speak effectively again may be severely damaged by that absolute freedom to say what you want.
Some may read this and protest that our founders fought for the freedom of speech. I would agree with you wholeheartedly on that matter. But our founders also knew that a wise man thinks before he speaks. He thinks because although he has freedom to speak - it is wisdom that governs us in such a way that we can speak again and again without reprecussion. We are told in the second half of this proverb that the righteous will escape from touble. This word "trouble" means something that causes distress and anguish. It refers to a situation of extreme discomfort and affliction. When we say something truly stupid, we can find ourselves quickly in a situation where we are uncomfortable. We all remember the times when a public figure said something they wished they had never said. You could almost hear a collective gasp from those around as the statement was made. The firestorm that ensued for the one who said it was predictable. Some of these public statements resulted in someone losing their job before it was all over. Did they have the freedom to speak - yes. Did their misuse of that freedom cost them dearly - absolutely.
The wise man will escape from these afflictions because of the wisdom with which he chooses his words. He will know that there are times when he needs to speak - and other times when it would be wise for him to be quiet. Because he has chosen to surrender his right to say anything he wants to the Lordship of Jesus Christ - he is resuced from many situations where his freedom of speech would create great difficulty for him. Wisdom means knowing when to speak, how to speak, and often when to hold your peace.