Of Names and People Who Use Them Properly
Think about your own name, what it means and how it is used. Having someone drag it through the mud whether purposefully or accidentally is a maddening thing.
Being imperfect creatures, we make mistakes. Some of those are doozies and we wish they could be erased from our minds and the memories of the people who were affected by them. With today’s social media, missteps can be magnified and archived forever to be dredged up and our names attached to them.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets that included God’s directives to the Israelites, one of those commandments was to respect God’s name. Or as is learned from Luther’s Small Catechism, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.” Continuing with the meaning of this, “We should fear and love God that we do not use his name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, or use it superstitiously, but call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.”
There are obvious ways to do this as humans. One that may not be so obvious is the careful use of, “I am.” Rewind to before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. When Moses asked what the name of God was, “I AM,” came the reply.
When we think about how we describe ourselves as people in God’s image, depending on our mood that day are we using, “I am,” carefully or with disregard for its potency? Moments before Jesus was arrested, he asked his captors, “Who is it that you are looking for?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
In John’s Gospel account of the situation in chapter 18, the answer came with such power and holy authority the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground. “I am he.”
As humans, we should tell the truth about ourselves. I am a sinner. I am grateful. I am blessed. I am struggling.
Even David in Psalm 31, verses 11 and 12 opened up to reveal his feelings when he was under attack and feeling despondent.
Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
There is struggle in this life. There is also hope and confidence that the Easter message in Jesus' death and resurrection will sustain you through those difficulties as the rest of Psalm 31 reveals.