labels

Studies have shown that people like hearing their own names. When you call someone by their given name it is a sign of courtesy. It makes others feel important and respected, leaving a lasting positive impression. On the other hand, to not remember a name or to call someone by a name that is not their own, especially after the person has introduced themselves multiple times, can leave a person feeling hurt and forgotten.

I often try to give people the benefit of the doubt, knowing that some people just aren't good with names. They may meet many new people in one day or have a lot going on at the time. However, it is so difficult to not take those moments to heart.

My freshman year of college I struggled with this issue a lot. When attending this one college ministry, I had to reintroduce myself 5-6 times before they even began to acknowledge me. I would remember exactly who they were but they'd act like they'd never seen me a day in their life. I knew I needed to get involved so I kept going back. I tried to reason and be understanding. I know I am a quiet person, people are busy, etc., but it was hard and sometimes made me feel unimportant. As if my presence made no difference at all.

When these things happen, it's easy to spiral downward, to live by the labels placed upon myself, to believe the lies of the enemy. The lies saying that I was less than, that I didn't matter, that I'm not a fun person to be around, that I'm not pretty enough, that no one likes me, etc. We make all of these assumptions about ourselves and others, forgetting the words of truth that God says about us.


God knew us before we were even formed in our mother's womb and He calls us by name.


Maybe you've been walking through life being led by the label that you've placed on yourself or the one that has been placed on you. Throughout the bible, many labels are placed on men and women of God and they are viewed through a very negative lens. However, when God encounters them, He called them by their God-given name, taking the label that was intended to hurt them and exchanged it for a name that allowed them to be who He designed them to be.

Gideon labeled himself as the least of his family, and his clan was the weakest in Manasseh, but God named him a "mighty warrior". It was Gideon who led the people into victory when Israel came under seige by the midianites.

In Mark 5, the woman with the issue of blood was labeled as unclean and an outcast because of a medical condition that she could not control. One day she heard that Jesus was in town and said, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." She touched his cloak, and the bleeding immediately stopped. Jesus asked, "Who touched my clothes?", and when the woman responded, Jesus looked at her and called her "daughter". He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

These are just two of the endless amount of times that God has changed someone's name. Their circumstances or people who had given them these names no longer defined them after God intervened. A name carried significance in the Old Testament, and whenever God gave someone a new name, it was meant to establish a new identity. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" When we surrender our lives to Christ, He gives us new names such as "heirs of God" and "adopted sons and daughters." So today, Jesus is waiting to give you His name to you, regardless of the name that has been placed on you.

"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (Peter 2:9).