When the Cornerstone Bank in Waco, Nebraska, was robbed of some $6,000 in November of 2012, the bank employees were able to give the police a fairly good description of the teenage girl who pulled off the crime and the car in which she escaped. As it turned out, the investigators didn’t really need those descriptions, because the thief recorded a YouTube video titled “Chick bank robber” boasting of her criminal prowess.
Fanning out the cash in front of the camera, 19-year-old Hannah Sabata held up a sign that read, “I just stole a car and robbed a bank. Now I’m rich, I can pay off my college financial aid, and tomorrow I’m going for a shopping spree.” Later she held up another sign which said, “I told my mom today was the best day of my life... she just thinks I met a new boy.” Hannah’s brief criminal career ended later that week when police took her into custody.
The number of people who have gotten into trouble because of something they said goes far beyond boasting criminals. Lies, gossip, criticism, and slander can damage not just those about whom they are spoken but the speaker as well. The words that come from our mouths reveal the condition of our hearts and minds. Jesus said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
We should exercise great care in our speech, knowing the power of our words. Though there is a time when we should speak, more often the problem comes from speaking too much instead of speaking too little. Let wisdom guide every conversation.
“A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.”—Proverbs 18:6-7