Friday, August 13, 2010

Does cutting a word cut its power?

It was August 6, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The bomb was nicknamed “Little Boy” and should have given a clue that something bigger and uglier was coming. Three days later, “The Fat Man” (minus Jake, of course) was dropped on Nagasaki. They go down as the only two nuclear weapons attacks in active war to the present date.

Many of my older readers will remember the late 70’s and early 80’s as America and the Russians had a standoff as they were the only world powers at the time with the weapons. The Cold War was highlighted by Reagan’s speech of tearing down the Berlin Wall and protesters on both sides begging “No More Nukes.”

So with the shortening of nuclear weapons to nuke, the word also took on some other meanings. The most dangerous we may know of nowadays is “nuking” in the microwave. All those lovely beams are warming our food and drinks. I learned a new meaning of nuke. It has something to do with messed up software, at least as far as I can understand. If someone cares to explain that further, have at it. Software explanations are like me trying to read the Bible in Hebrew. I don’t understand it.

The reason I bring up this shortening of names and now abbreviations is that we take so many words for granted. I remember a day at school in the 80’s and someone said the phrase, “Oh my God.” You would have thought the person had been cursing a blue streak of a profanity laced tirade. However, it was the reaction to the 1985 Challenger disaster as we saw it on television.

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of reading to give me encouragement and ideas for the upcoming months and I kept hearing on TV and seeing on a lot of posting about the lettering “OMG”. Let me start by saying that I’m not slapping people around for the use, but I am asking a question. That question is this: Are using abbreviations and shortening the terms making things less harmful?

I understand the comparison in your minds might be slightly ridiculous. Of course, shortening the term nuclear weapons to nuke or nukes makes no difference. I think they hurt about the same. We know this because if a nuke dropped on any city in the world, it would be a part of the nightly news for quite a while.

However, OMG is being used everywhere. From Facebook to the famous or infamous “OMG Kitty”, the term is all over the internet. People talk about it in television because characters are always texting each other in the shows. Even the words “Oh my God” are used regularly now and seldom, if ever, are even looked at as anything above normal conversation.

But there is a difference here. I know some of you military minds might disagree with me, but God is holy and nukes are not. My biggest problem today is that we toss language around like it doesn’t mean anything. It’s OK to yell a profanity, especially when abbreviated, such as “You MFer’s,” “SOB”, and the list could go on and on. We as a culture act as if we’re tossing pennies, when in fact, we may be changing lives and attitudes.

If we are believers, we must change the idea that it is fine to demean God’s holy name, in any way. God says this in Leviticus 22:32, “Do not profane my holy name, I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites, I am the Lord who makes you holy.” Our relationship with him is the one who makes us holy. If you want to debate that this is an Old Testament thought, replace the term “Israelites” with “my people.” He wants us to know that we are His and that our conversation must show it.

Romans 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy. To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” We are worshiping, or not, with the words we use. Think highly of the one who made you and saved you. God’s first name is not “Oh My!”

I love you guys!
Frank

1 comment:

Linda said...

Believe it or not, OMG is 'Oh my gosh.' Even when I see it on FB. The first time I heard the other, I was livid--it was a TV commercial.