In biblical times, people didn’t have a last name but were additionally identified by a parent’s name, where they lived, or what they did. Simon the tanner, Demetrius the silversmith, and Lydia (a dealer in purple cloth) were known for their occupations. Names also represented the person’s purpose or the circumstances relating to their birth.
Adam named his wife “Eve” because she would become the mother of all the living. Moses was named for being drawn out of the water. Hannah named her son “Samuel” because she asked the Lord for him. The apostles called Joseph “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Encouragement”) for he encouraged many people.
An angel told Joseph to name Mary’s baby, “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Demons called Jesus, “Son of God” and people called Him, “Lord” and “Son of David.” Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, and Peter answered correctly, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Peter labeled Jesus as the Anointed One.
Your name identifies you and your reputation contributes to your identity. Solomon believed that a good name is more desirable than great riches (Proverbs 22:1).
Recently, angry people have been flippantly calling other folks derogatory names. The terms “racist,” “fascist,” and “Nazi” are overused. Partisan leaders are diminishing our individuality and separating us by race and politics. They try to divide us into their predetermined groups and tell us how we should think, behave, and vote. Color of skin, political affiliation, religion, and wealth, are all dividers. I’ve been told I am a white privileged supremacist because I happen to be Caucasian; a bigot because I believe in heterosexual marriage; a deplorable for holding conservative values; and have Islamophobia because I reject Muslim ideology. How have you been categorized?
Identity politics is dividing Americans against each other. Name-calling intensifies division, hatred, and violence. Liberal activist educators in our colleges and universities are swaying teens and young adults into thinking like them. Anyone who doesn’t share another’s defined set of values is labeled some insulting name. Freedom of speech and respect is missing on campuses, and people — including students — are getting paid to protest and disrupt peaceful gatherings. The “us against them” mentality is being taught, which discourages looking at people with respect.
While society is trying to declassify people’s sex, it’s dividing our nation with fear. Many deprecating labels are attributed to people to foster political agendas, and political correctness is abused. But the media sensationalizes it.
While the media focused on criticizing First Lady Melania’s shoes, they barely mentioned that the government and strangers united together to help victims of hurricane Harvey. It no longer mattered what color of skin you had or what political party you associated with; Texans and Americans were being united through a disaster. Refreshingly, love for others was being demonstrated.
However, intense hatred for Trump received more national attention. Hateful media individuals declared that Texas deserved the hurricane for voting Republican. Hollywood actresses told Trump voters not to watch their movies. Celebrities have publically called for the President’s death. These lost people need Jesus. I’m reminded of the crowd that yelled, “Crucify Him!”
Do you identify with a certain group of people? Are you a name-caller? Who do people say you are?
God created humans with one notable difference: two distinct sexes — male and female. Besides each person having a unique fingerprint, we are all alike — created with a brain, heart, blood, and soul, and with equal worth to God. The Lord searches each person’s heart and mind, and knows exactly who we are and what we believe; nothing is hidden from Him.
In this evil, broken world, those who love Jesus and try to obey His commands will be hated. Christians will always be called names. According to the Bible, there is only one division between humans that has eternal significance. God divides the “sheep” from the “goats,” the “wheat” from the “weeds”, the spiritually saved from the unsaved (Matthew 26,13). Which group are you in and how does your life demonstrate that affiliation?
(PUB. NOTE: Articles of a faith-based nature and other commentaries appear in the Review as space allows. Views expressed by guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper, its owners or staff.)