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The Name of a Thing

It's a fundamental principle of the universe that names have meaning. Our Bible study in Ruth has now discussed the meanings of the names in chapter one: Naomi ("pleasant") becomes Mara ("bitter"); Elimelek ("My God Is King"); Mahlon ("sickness"); Kilion ("wasting"); Orpah (possibly "fawn" or "neck"); and Ruth ("friend"). We all know "Immanuel" is "God with us." My own name, Christopher, is Greek for "Christ-bearer." Names help us call something what it is; they're marks of identity.

If for no other reason than this, the power of an identity should remind us to call a thing by its true name. You can't alter reality simply by using different words. Call a scorpion a butterfly all you want, but all you'll get is a great surprise at being stung by a "butterfly." Nevertheless we try to alter the facts by changing their names all the time in our current society. By calling a biological male a girl, we seek to make him so, even if genetics won't let us get away with it. By referring to mental illness as defined by psychologists as simply alternative (and acceptable) sexualities, we enable ourselves to hold parades in honor of those who won't admit they need help.

Worst of all, by refusing to call sin, sin and God, God, we consign millions to hell. We aren't doing anyone any favors by changing the names. We cannot change the facts any more than I could change the scorpion into a butterfly just by calling it something else. We must call things by their proper name. We must show true love. We must preach true salvation. We must call sin evil and God good. Those identities can never change.

This is true because God can never change. He will always be the one true God, a God of love as well as justice. He will always be waiting for His children to call Him by Name and welcome them home.

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