We come to another passage dealing with the abuse of the tongue - or the abuse of how we speak to others. It is an interesting fact that the Bible says much more about the abuse of the tongue than it does the abuse of alcohol or drugs. By saying this I am not condoning either of those two things, because they are very destructive. But I would venture to say that the abuse of the tongue and how it damages people every day dwarfs the evils of these other two things easily. And whereas we have many speaking of the evil of the other two things - very few are crusading for people to use their tongues to build others up rather than tear them down.
The proverb instructs us that the tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable. What a loaded statement this is. Sometimes people reject the knowledge that is shared not because the knowledge itself is offensive - but because the way it is shared is offensive. There are also those who can share pretty offensive things - yet are received well because of the wisdom with which they share them. When we come to people with a know-it-all attitude or a holier-than-thou spirit they will reject anything we have to say. That is why wisdom not only gives us knowledge itself - but also will counsel us on how to share it.
Two other proverbs come to mind to illustrate this. One says that more flies are caught with honey than with vinegar. This proverb tells us that if we come with a sweet spirit we will catch more people with what we say. No one that I know is interested in drinking a cup of vinegar. In a similar way people will not listen to us if our spirit is bitter like vinegar. The second proverb that instructs us is actually wisdom Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes. Solomon tells us that there is a time and a season for everything. Among these seasons is the time to speak and the time to be quiet. Sometimes the best wisdom for our knowledge we want to share is to wait for a more opportune moment.
The second half of this proverb lets us know that the mouth of fools spout folly. Whereas the wise are wanting to know the most profitable way to share knowledge - the fool has no such concern. That is because the fool is too busy spouting out his folly. The word folly means perversity, foolishness, silliness, and moral deficiency. The Word comes from either a word that means to be thick-brained or stupid. Rather than sharing knowledge with others, the fool is speaking the silliness of his own thinking. He is morally deficient and thus his tongue is only uttering disgusting and perverse statements. Hang around him long enough and you will be as filled with stupid and senseless knowledge as he is. That is why over and over again we are counselled to leave the presence of a fool - and that is especially the case when he is running his mouth. It is much better to spend our time considering how best to share beneficial knowledge with others than in the company of folly-spouting fools.