Another Proverb which focusing on our words, the first part is about the man who “guards his lips” (words). Admittedly, we all need our words guarded and it’s something we must do for ourselves. No one else can do it for us and guarding our words means we will be guarding our lives from lots of stupid stuff that can happen.
But the opposite is also true. Not guarding my mouth (that is “speaks rashly”) is not guarding my life (that is, it “will come to ruin”). I can keep or lose my life (literally and figuratively!) based on how well I watch my words.
As a mouthy guy, myself, I admit I don’t practice this verse as well as I should. I talk lots and usually say good things. But – if I keep talking – I will get around to saying something stupid!
So the big question is – how do I go about “guarding my lips?” It isn’t that complicated and can be summed up in two points.
First, we need to purpose that we will think about what we are going to say before we say it. That isn’t hard for most people, but some of us have so much to say that we sometimes forget to think first! Yet we can learn to do so with a little practice.
Second, if we don’t think first and we do say something stupid, we just need to be honest and admit when we are wrong. Although some will say this is like “closing the barn door after the horse is out” (to quote a modern proverb).
But most are willing to hear us accept responsibility for saying something dumb. In fact, we can earn a lot of “street cred” when we just “man up!”