Haste makes waste.
OK, time for some quibbling. Tuesday Solomon's critique of people who speak rash words was the order of the day (reference Proverbs 12:18). They were defined as words spoken without consideration of the outcomes they would produce. You know the type, thoughtless words that catch the receiver of them off-guard. These words inflict injury like the thrusting of a sword, sudden and provocative. Today, let's consider Solomon's advice about hasty words, those that are transmitted with speed as the motive. His wise and inspired thought could certainly influence much of the disturbing blather today on social media and other news sources---
Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 29: 20, ESV
In this instance, the Hebrew word translated hasty depicts language that is spoken by someone who likes to be first in the comments section. In some ways rash words and hasty words are similar in that they are both quickly delivered. Rash words give no thought to their impact on a situation. Hasty words are usually transmitted with at least one thought in mind. The speaker wants the distinction of being recognized as a first responder to the issues under consideration. Today, hasty words generate fake news, false information, twisted facts, and defamation of character, to mention a few possible outcomes. Being quick on the draw, spontaneous, uninhibited in verbal mastery is so often considered assets in the language department. But, Scripture warns of being hasty with our words and most actions.
The big picture of Proverbs is God's contrast of folly and wisdom. Many verses depict the thoughts and actions of fools as compared to the influence of a person seeking wisdom. In the broadest sense the fool is portrayed as shallow and empty, void of knowledge or understanding, a person in love with his thoughts and words. Through the entire book the fool is depicted as arrogant, reckless in thoughts and actions, irresponsible and quarrelsome. Foolish people are to be identified and avoided because they actually contribute little to the world around them. In his Proverb about hasty words, Solomon concludes that "...there will be more hope for a fool than for him". It's a very dismal assessment. Hasty words make someone worse than a fool.
Hasty words are usually precursors to hasty actions. And, you know the old saying---haste makes waste! It's because speed isn't the solution to most life complications. There are times when reality strikes and our responses should be quick and timely. Imagine where we would be today if the first evidences of Covid-19 had prompted more immediate medical research. Undue slowness isn't always a benefit either. Then again, there's the truth about hasty words. They aren't usually spoken to remedy something troublesome. Hasty words are about the person speaking them, their egocentric need for recognition, their motive for personal advancement.
In the Christian worldview, hasty words, as understood in this context, violate the basic precepts of the Christian faith. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24, ESV). Speaking hastily to draw attention to self is certainly not self-denial. Also, we must remember what James wrote about our speaking habits---"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak.." (James 1:9, ESV).
Slow to speak. Haste makes waste.