BCWYC–Does This Describe You?

March 26, 2014

Biblical Beliefs

Words have power. The words are not powerful because of the particular arrangement of letters as if the letters themselves had some mystical power. The power is not in the word itself but in what it communicates. I can invent a word, Tragout, and it means nothing, but it is possible to use it so that meaning is assigned to it. I can say it in such a way that you would think I was insulting your mother, or that I was saying “I love you.” Communication is not words, but meaning.

Another way to communicate is to use unfinished words. This often is done to communicate a curse and at the same time allow the offender to say “officially” that he did not write such a word because he left out one or two letters. “I hate you” if written “I h*te you” still communicates the same idea. It also emphasizes that word because we must pay special attention to it to receive the meaning. Just because we did not write the whole word does not mean we did not communicate it!

I bring this up because by using acronyms and partial words, we sometimes are tempted to communicate things we would never say in public. For example, we know we are not to use God’s name in vain. Frivolous use of His name shows disrespect to Him (Exodus 20:7). Communicating His name in vain is still wrong, even if the word “God” is not used.

Psalm 3:7 says (in part), “Save me, O my God!” This is a prayer addressing God and is a good use of His name. However, “O my God” can also be misusing His name, as in expression of amazement at something. When I hear someone say “O my God” referring to something they consider amazing or shocking, I might say “That’s not God.”

If a man saw a nice car and made that statement, I might say, “That car is not God.” I’ve done this a few times, and the look on their faces shows me that they had no intention of actually calling out to God as in Psalm 3:7. They were just being flippant, trying to be cute.

We could also write Psalm 3:7 like this: “Arise O Lord; save me, OMG!” However, the use of OMG has become such a common thing, most likely you would not communicate that you were praying to God by writing those letters. People would see it as a slang expression meaning, “I cannot believe this!”

There are many phrases used in texting and the Internet (even in casual conversation) that Christians should avoid because of what they communicate. (Sometimes they communicate more than one thing. We should be careful about these!)  I hesitate to put these letters together here, but most young people know exactly what I am referencing. It should never be the case that Christians use such acronyms to cover their use of foul language, but it is happening at alarming rates. They would never use such language with the actual words, but some of the foulest language in use today comes from these acronyms. Some otherwise sweet and wholesome Christians say some of the foulest things I have ever read. These things are said as if it is not common knowledge what these things mean.

Teens and even adults use these forms of communication without thought and when they are asked about the meaning, it is easy for them to assign a new meaning on the spot to cover themselves. You are responsible for what you communicate. Even if you did not know a certain combination of letters communicated some horrific curse against God, you are still responsible for the things you communicate.

Please remember to think about the meaning of words, acronyms, or any other forms of communication. Sometimes we might use them innocently, no doubt, but I urge caution. We have a rule in our house–do not say words unless you know what they mean. The same should be true for acronyms and other “cute” forms of speech found today. BCWYC. (Be careful what you communicate.) Say only good things!

About Jason Sparks

I am passionate about spreading the Gospel. God has blessed me with a wife and two children. I have been preaching full time since graduating Brown Trail School of Preaching in June, 1999 and also have an MA from University of Phoenix.

View all posts by Jason Sparks

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