Since the advent of texting, various text-speak abbreviations have arisen into the general vocabulary–such as BTW, TTYL, FYI, BRB, etc. Perhaps no abbreviation is used more than “LOL.” From what I understand, that means “laugh out loud.” It may be used to reply to something funny written by the one with whom you are corresponding. It might accompany something funny that you wrote. Often, it appears with no apparent provocation and rationale. All of this is harmless. I have noticed it being used a different way. Kathy calls it, “Lash out language.” Someone will say something cruel, derogatory, insulting, or otherwise demeaning, only to cover it with an “LOL.” Apparently, that is supposed to “offset” the sting of the putdown or dig.
Of course, we understand that harsh and biting words cannot be neutralized that easily. What is needed is forethought and restraint. Paul reminds us that our speech is to always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6). Too often, we may want to retaliate or wound with our words but also “cover our tracks” lest we be called on the words we use. Who hasn’t seen a husband or wife insult a spouse’s weight, cooking, intelligence, or the like, but couch it with laughter or even a blithely stated, “Just kidding, dear.” It doesn’t matter, does it? The damage has been done.
Let us be careful to examine very carefully our choice of words. Each of us has such power through our communication, for good or ill. As Solomon put it, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Prov. 18:21).