TL;DR

Have you ever seen the letters – TL;DR? They often show up in the comment section of a social media post or on a discussion group.  They mean – “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. When I saw this acronym the other day, it made me realize just how much the world has become so full of short blasts of information that are rich in graphics but often poor in depth of content. You know what I’m talking about, right?  Those swirly brightly colored sayings that pop up daily on Instagram, facebook or Pinterest. Simple, short pithy thoughts that may be true, but don’t give much real insight or guidance as to how to actually make the sentiment stick in your life.

It seems like that today anything that stretches beyond three sentences –let alone three paragraphs or certainly not, three pages- rarely seems worth the investment of time it takes to decipher the point and digest the author’s meaning. Occasionally when a lengthy article does make the rounds, it’s often preceded with an apology as in, ‘This is long, but worth the read…’ or ‘Regrets in advance for the length of this post.” While it’s great to have a take-away nugget to put in your pocket that’s less than 140 characters, (I mean, who isn’t busy these days), the increasing corporate lack of ability to focus on anything for very long has detrimental implications for believers that goes far beyond social media interaction.

Just think about it… Have you allowed yourself to exist on a summarized faith that could be noted an index card, a bumper sticker, or a sign on a desk? One verse with no context. Or a single quote from an influential saint or visionary from a bygone era. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about committing scripture to memory and there is much to learn from Christians who have lived before us, but how many people have a favorite verse, but don’t know to whom it was written, what comes before or after, or have any idea how it relates to the rest of the chapter, not to mention its place in the whole of scripture?

And if we were to really begin to investigate the foundation of the things that we say we believe, would we be willing to delve deeply into weighty and complex matters that demand much time to consider and much thought to process? Concepts that our believing predecessors spent a lifetime writing and teaching about? Or are we much more likely to briefly survey the whole counsel of God and by our actions, dismissively stamp it TL;DR?

The scripture is long, but it deserves (and demands) to be read deliberately and digested slowly. But consuming a steady diet of snippets, quick videos and news briefs has made too many, including those in the body of Christ, flabby and intellectually out of shape. And sadly, most go through life interpreting the truth of the messages that come to them based on nothing more concrete than if it harmonized with something they heard as a child or if it “sounds” plausible or “feels” right.

Scripture gives us ageless principles upon which to base our convictions… Unchanging doctrines as solid as any anchor or lighthouse. When we base our suppositions only on what we think, it is then that we’re setting ourselves on a untethered path that could send our lives dangerously off course. Really, our opinions are no more valid than anyone else’s. The only thing that solidifies our position is when it rests on the foundation of God’s unchanging wisdom and living guidance.

As the world seems to spiral more and more out of control, it requires something more substantial than a placard to hold us in place against a changing tide, more than a bumper sticker to define us as different during difficult times, and more than a slogan to shine the light on Jesus in the advancing darkness of the shifting and changing world.

So when it comes to God Word, erase your temptation to mentally write over it TL;DR Instead, try a new acronym… TI;RN… Too Important; Read Now!

 

16 thoughts on “TL;DR

  1. Excellent! Love this post! It reminds me of the quote, “stop and smell the roses.” Life is so short, digging deep into the Word, digesting it, meditating on it and making it our source is worth every minute! Lord help us, strengthen our hearts, mind, and soul. This post is definitely TI;RN!

  2. This is such a powerful and timely message. Thank you, Karen.
    “But consuming a steady diet of snippets, quick videos and news briefs has made too many, including those in the body of Christ, flabby and intellectually out of shape.” This is so evident in the church that it is disheartening. But the Holy Spirit uses posts like these to convict us and remind us of how important context truly is. I will share this across all my social networks!

  3. “short blasts of information”! True that!! We live in an appetiser world. I read this WHOLE article (it was NOT too long) full of meat and nourishment. It contained insight into something we need to be aware of. Excellent, smart article! Thanks!

  4. You’re absolutely right, Karen! Deliberately reading the Word is life-changing. It has changed mine. It has changed me. Thanks for this and for linking up at Counting My Blessings!

  5. WOW! I’ve read a lot of your posts, Karen, but this particular one hits home! I have become so conscious of people’s verbal comments to my own writing that say TL;DR I tend to shorten the study to get man’s approval. Your words comforted me and from now on I ignore the word count and keep on keeping on until Holy Spirit says, ENOUGH, now. Oh, just a note. I looked up the definition for CONTEXT…and liked the one definition of the noun that gives a very good image of the word, to me anyhow:
    [3] Mycology, the fleshy fibrous body of the pileus in mushrooms.

    1. Thanks Mel. I think you do a great job at leading people in the understanding of God’s Word. Keep on sharing the truth! Thanks for your comment.

  6. The Truth is the truth and nothing short about it. We need it in full! We need the WHOLE Gospel. We need Jesus completely. WOW! You have given me beautiful and fulfilling food to digest. Thank you for this thought-provoking post. Praising God.

  7. Hi, Karen! So glad you came over to linkup with my blog today! We have a friend in common (Teri Potter) who always tells me what a great teacher you are!

    I LOVED this post. So agree with you! The only way to truly experience the Word as Living Word is to digest, study and let it mold us.

    Thanks again for taking part in Recharge Wednesday! Hope you come back!

    Blessings,

    1. Hey Patricia! I remember you from FBA and I do love Terri too! Such a wonderful godly woman! Glad you stopped by to read and share your thoughts! It’s great to connect with you!

  8. I hadn’t heard of the acronym! But yes, I so agree. Recently I read an article by Phillip Yancey that also addressed the topic of our skim reading, instead of diving deeply. And the importance of reading long pieces, including novels. There’s also this FOMO (fear of missing out) in Social Media that plays a role in increasing ‘skim’ reading over longer articles. But, ironically, is it in the skimming that we miss out! Such an important topic you addressed today. Thank you!

    1. I do think that social media has created that fear of missing out, so we try to do everything, read everything, and be involved in everything, which really creates overload and burn out. We’d do better to chose one or 2 things to delve into rather than try to continue to fill and over saturated sponge. Thanks for your comments!

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