Some people hate theirs – some people love theirs.
I was given the name Sharon when I was born. But when I hit elementary school, I thought Sharon sounded too "formal." So I changed it to Shari. Everyone knew me by Shari, except my family – they still called me Sharon.
Then, when I graduated from college, I kinda swung back the other way. Now I thought Shari sounded too "frivolous" – so I changed it back to Sharon. I've been known by the name Sharon for about 33 years now. But my husband, who knew me in elementary school, still calls me Shari! (Cute, huh?!)
My brother's kids called me Aunt Sharon – and I've always thought it sounded like an old-maid spinster. I'm not sure I like it so much. So when my sister's son was born several years later, I told her to let him come up with his own name. That's how I came to be called "Uncle Sharon" by her kids!
Now, we have our names, and then we have nicknames.
Nicknames are a mixed bag.
Sometimes they're a good thing – sometimes they're a bad thing – sometimes they're both.
For instance, "Honest Abe" is a good nickname if you're Abraham Lincoln, and you're kinda known for your integrity and trustworthiness. "Honest Joe," who lies about everyone and everything – maybe not such a good nickname.
Good nicknames might include calling a guy who's 6' 6" tall, and weighs 270 pounds – "Tiny." Or calling a guy with red hair – well, yeah, "Red" – I was thinking "Rusty."
But nicknames can be cruel, too. They can be used in taunting and damaging ways.
I was called "Lightweight" and "Spoke" when I was growing up because I was so skinny (healthy skinny, by the way – thin just ran in my family). At the time, the name hurt…a lot. Now it might not be so bad.
I was also called "Flower Hitter" because of my singularly unskilled skills in softball.
My worst nickname was "Railroad Mouth" – given when I was a dorky 10th grader with curly hair (a sin in the early 70's) and a mouth full of silver, metal braces. NOT a good memory…
Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words will never hurt me.
Who came up with that???
Words are the things that do the MOST damage, because they wound deep inside where the bruises and bleeding and scars don't show.
What about the names that life has given you?
Do you have some?
Oh yes, life deals out its names like branding irons that sear their way into our very character. We become those names – we are victims of the reputations they bring to us.
We end up damaged and wounded – hurt and hopeless.
Must we stay like this?
Of course not!
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is a very interesting passage of Scripture:
"To everyone who is victorious…I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." (Revelation 2:17)
I'm not sure exactly what this verse means – but it thrills me!
It's unclear what the white stones are, or what the name on each will be. But they are significant – for they will each bear the new name of every person who truly believes in Jesus Christ.
They will be the evidence that a person has been accepted by God and declared worthy to receive eternal life.
Oh, what a wonder!
I picture this moment –
Jesus calls me to approach Him. I come and stand before Him. I kneel. He lifts my chin up so He can look me in the eye. He reaches for my hand, and places a cool, smooth, pure-white stone in it.
I see His scars as He closes my fingers around the stone. He holds my closed hand with both of His and He says,
"This is your new name. It is a name that only you and I will ever know. It is your true character. It is who I created you to be. Open your hands and behold!"
And there, on that stone, will be…well, ME.
Can you picture opening your hand to your new name?
It will be glorious!
But what about now?
You know, Jesus wants to change some of those wrong names in this life, too.
So, will you let the Lord's love reach into your heart today and change the names you've lived with for so long?
Person of Truth.
There are many more good names – an endless list to replace the old. Jesus provided them all – just for you. He is the One who can give you a new name and a new heart.
And He's the One who died and rose again – and He waits in Heaven for you. Rumor has it that He's got a bazillion white stones just waiting for His faithful, redeemed ones.
Um, that would be you and me!
What new name do you need Jesus to give you today?
And how do you feel about that "Forever Name" waiting for you in eternity?!
"When in doubt, search God out!"