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With the proliferation of text messaging (or “texting”) among teens and young adults, we have seen the introduction of various new abbreviations, alternate spellings, and acronyms into the English language. By employing such measures, typing messages on even the tiniest of keyboards or on  numeric keypads can become easier and more efficient. They can, however, also make it easier for communicants to express profane and vulgar thoughts.

I have often wondered if those participating in such chat realize the meaning of the acronyms or abbreviations that they are using. I especially wonder about this in regards to our Christian youth since I have seen some of them engage in this activity as well on such social sites as Facebook. I pray that they are doing this ignorantly, simply imitating the behavior of their peers. Either way, though, they are doing that which is not only offensive, but sinful. In Ephesians 5:4, the apostle Paul reminds us that there must not be any “filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (NASB)

Young people need to be reminded that acronyms such as “OMG” do, indeed, stand for something and represent more than a mere exclamation. When using such phrases, teens and young adults are actually using God’s name in vain and are expressing thoughts that they would never dare to vocalize in the hearing of others, especially their parents.

Perhaps the best way to eliminate this trend is to educate parents and other concerned adults (e.g., teachers and grandparents) concerning the meaning of these acronyms and abbreviations. Maybe we need to likewise educate our youth concerning these acronyms and encourage them not to use them just so that they may be like their peers.

The apostle Paul reminds us that the message we need to send others is not one that is unwholesome but one that builds up those to whom we speak and which gives grace to those who hear (cf., Ephesians 4:29). Yes, words, abbreviated or not, communicate ideas and reveal to others the contents of our heart (cf., Matthew 15:17-19). Unfortunately, it only takes the  addition of one letter for “texters” to take an innocuous phrase or statement and provide it with a new, vulgar meaning. Christians, therefore, need to be especially mindful of that which they are saying when they text.


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.