Sticks and Stones

sticks-and-stones1“STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT NAMES WILL NEVER HURT ME!”

Don’t you believe it! Sadly, for many of you reading this today, I don’t have to tell you not to believe it, because you know just how far this nursery rhyme is from the truth. It’s a fact that we will recover much more quickly from being hit by a 2 x 4 than from some of the names we’ve been hit by over the years. The pain from the 2 x 4 eventually goes away. The pain from some of the names we have been called lasts a lifetime!

  •  You’re stupid!
  •  You’re a loser!
  •  You’re an idiot!
  •  You’re hopeless!
  •  You’re uncoordinated!
  •  You’re fat!
  •  You’re ugly!

How many lives have been crushed under the weight of names that hurt? The little league coach who calls his player a loser after striking out to end the game . . . the father who tells his son he won’t amount to anything . . . the husband who tells his wife she is the biggest mistake he has ever made in life . . . the parent who tells the child, “I wish you were never born!”

And if we are honest for a moment, we must admit that we have been on both sides of the name game. We have received our share of nasty names . . . and we have delivered them as well. Some we have even delivered to ourselves.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.  (Revelation 2:17)

We don’t know exactly what this name written on the white stone is all about, but we do know the new name we have been given on this side of heaven: Christian! And with the name Christian we have a plethora of other names that can heal every hurt we have experienced by the names others have given to us. We are Chosen. We are Adopted. We are Pardoned. We are Accepted. We are Forgiven. We are Beloved.

Jesus has the name that is above every name, and it is by His name that we have been given all of these names that heal our hurts, lift our hearts, and secure our hope. Jesus died on the cross that we might be given new names. His shed blood has washed away every other name we have ever been given and frees us to receive our new name. The only name that defines who we are is the name that Jesus has given to us. His opinion of us is the only opinion that matters. And the bottom line is this: Jesus is quite fond of all those He died for on Golgotha’s Hill.

In closing out today’s message, it is important to remember that even our Lord was called nasty names that were intended to hurt Him and hold Him back.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.’” But wisdom is proved right by her actions.  (Matthew 11:19)

If The Son of Man was not spared from being called bad names, we should not expect to be either. We need to simply look to Jesus and remember we have been given a new name that truly identifies who we are and what we will be forever. Stick and stones do break bones and names on this side of the grave will hurt. But the name we have been given from on high will heal every single one of those hurts.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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