What Is In An Abbreviation

Growing up in a military family abbreviations were everywhere.  SOP.  AWOL.  SOS.  Abbreviations are often used to shorten lengthy words in writing that then become part of our vernacular.  We don't think anything of it when some says RSVP or NASA (who wants to say répondez, s'il nous plaît or National Aeronautics Space Administration Abbreviations).  Most abbreviations are amoral - nothing good bad or indifferent about them.  

But there are others that have become common place in our culture - short hand writing that often incorporates vulgar language into a "g" rated abbreviation.  To list a few we have LMAO, WTF, or OMG.  If you don't know what they mean  - well be glad.  There are others that are even more vulgar than these that I would rather not list in this blog.  But you get the idea.  It is unfortunate in many ways that our friends, neighbors & co-workers use this in their writing or speech.  But most of them are not followers of Jesus - it seems normal to them & if you debated about whether or not it was appropriate they might look at you like - who died & made you the vocabulary police.  

But I have found it alarming as a disciple of Jesus how often other Christians will use the same crude abbreviations in their speech or writing on Facebook, twitter or other venues.  Perhaps some of us use them but don't really know what they mean - we heard or saw someone else do it & thought - that sounds cool.  In general you probably should avoid using any word of phrase that you do not know the meaning whether it is LMAO or whether it is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (which for your information is a word that refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano; medically, it is the same as silicosis).  

It seems, though that most Christians know exactly what they mean - so in order to sound cool or hip or trendy or smart (probably not this one) use all kinds of abbreviations that would make your grandma blush.  Maybe it is to sort of hide what they really think - well if I don't spell "ass" - it is not as sinful; so I will just use a big 'A'.   But I think we should consider the words of the Apostle Paul a little more closely - [29] Let no corrupting (or unwholesome) talk (or could we add abbreviations) come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Ephesians 4:29 ESV).  He does not say some or a little - Paul says none.  Instead we are to use our mouths for building up - giving grace to those who hear us.  Does it communicate grace, truth & the gospel when we use our words or letters or abbreviations to be vulgar, unwholesome or other wise vile.  But to go further - Jesus says it is not simply the action (murder) that is sin but also the thought (hate) too.  If we applied that to our words or abbreviations; it is not just saying a vulgar or unwholesome word that is sin but even the thought of it.  This is in some ways an overwhelming idea because my thoughts are quite wicked and rarely act on most of what I think.  Our tongue is a mighty instrument and great care needs to be given to using it well - not to hurt, kill, destroy but to give life, truth, grace & kindness.

As a follower of Jesus - all of life is worship - everything we do is to bring glory to God - whether we eat, drink, work, labor, talk or even abbreviate.  Let's set a higher standard for our words - instead of cloaking vulgarity behind word alternatives or short abbreviations - let's use our speech to proclaim the glories of God, the truth of the gospel & the grace of Jesus.  We can use as many words as will fill an ocean to adorn Him with praise - no shortened abbreviations are necessary.