The focus of this verse is the words we speak. In this case it’s about the words of two different people – the two main characters in Proverbs – “the wise” and “the fool.”
Of course, “the tongue of the wise” is not really about that little organ in their mouths, but the words that their tongues help form. Their words do good things and connect to the right stuff – they “adorn knowledge.”
So, “the mouth of the fool” is not actually about their “mouths,” but their words. Their mouth “gushes” out a steady stream of “folly” words. This sounds neither nice nor attractive.
Critical to appreciating this verse, is the fact that our words don’t define us. They simply indicate who we really are.
Even though they’re human and still make mistakes, a “wise” person will consistently speak appropriate things. They’ll even correct their words that weren’t.
And while fools will try to sound appropriate with their words, eventually they’ll say what they are really thinking.
So the bottom line here is not that we should try to change our words in order to sound better. Instead, what we really need to do is change our hearts – the very source of our words.
It’s always about who we are on the inside, not what comes out of our mouths to the outside. At least that’s how Jesus saw it (Mk 7:21-23)!