Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's in a Name?

Spirit & Truth # 280
“What’s in a Name?”

By Greg Smith

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
(Genesis 3:20 KJV)

My wife and I have been married for over twenty years, and I love her more today than I did the day we pledged eternity together.  I know couples who have been married twice as long as Beth and I, who say they’ve never had an argument.  I say that they’re either lying, or they’re not communicating, or they just don’t feel passionately about anything.  Most couples have arguments from time to time—that’s the nature of marriage.  Beyond marriage, most relationships experience disagreement.  It’s up to you, what you do with that disagreement—whether you take it to a place of blessing, or whether you use it as an opportunity to curse the other person with negative speech.

If anyone had a reason to curse his spouse, it was Adam.  After Eve ate the forbidden fruit, Adam was forced to make a difficult choice.  Either he had to lose the wife that God had given him, or he could remain with his wife, join in her sin, and lose the garden that God had given them.  While he complained to God about “This woman you gave me,” we also know the choice he made.  He chose to remain with his wife, and his sealed his fate with his own bite into that fateful fruit.

But while he complained, he never cursed her.  Genesis never gives a name for the woman until after the Fall.  It was only after the Fall that Adam named her.  He could have named her anything he wanted to—just as he named all other living creatures.  After their experience in the produce section, he could have called her “Troublemaker,” or “Temptress” or anything else.  But instead of cursing her, he chose to bless her.  Instead of looking to her painful past, he looked to her promising potential.  He called her a name that reflected, not what she had been or had done, but what she would become.  He called her Eve, which means, “Mother of All the Living.”

In your relationships, you have a choice to make, between blessing and cursing.  You can develop a perspective on people that looks only to their past.  You can sum them up based on what they’ve already done.  You might feel like you have a right to be rude to them, based on what they’ve done to you.  Or, you can focus on the future.  You can appreciate them for what God is doing to shape them into a new and better person.  

Once I knew a man named Billy who had been in prison.  He had served his time, and was ready to be released.  During his time in prison, he had repented of his sin, grown close to God, and become an entirely different person.  In essence, he had made his prison cell into a monastery cell.  On the day before his release, I went to visit him.  I told him that I was going to give him a new name.  He was no longer Billy, I said, but Will—because he had found God’s will for his life.

Whose name do you need to change today?  Who do you need to gain a fresh perspective on, looking at them not with human eyes, but through God’s perspective?  I invite you to look to the future and not to the past, to bless and not to curse.  When you do, just watch and see how productive that person can become.

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