Words

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Let the name-calling commence

By Christina Olka

Freedom Director, South Bay Church, christina@southbay.cc

By definition, a name is “a set of words by which a person is known, addressed or referred to” (Webster’s).

This definition in and of itself begs the question: What name do you go by? This is not necessarily the same name you have on your birth certificate, or even what people call you. To ask “what name do you go by”? is to ask “what defines your very identity”?

If words shape identity, then names seal identity. What people name you goes beyond a word on a page but rather metabolizes into how you live your life.

Words spoken in your childhood, intimate relationships and even workplaces can shape the deep parts of your being in a way no other words can. Out of these places, we take on names of rejection or acceptance, pain or joy, hope or despair, love and security or fear and worry.

The truth is that words that hold the power to name, can run wild and kill like a savage beast, or they can bless and create unending life. What are the names that shape your identity? Do you know the name you live by?

Like many people, at birth my family bestowed upon me the family name and as a youth, a community took that name and tarnished it with their words — namely name-calling. What was once a word of honor became a name of shame. Inevitably I lived under the name of rejection and fear instead of the name of honor.

I have been renamed. I have experienced a different kind of name-calling. It is a name-calling that gives life instead of taking it. It blesses people with uplifting truth and strong identity. This kind of name-calling has restored my name of shame to a name of honor, but it has also moved me to help others find their new name — a true identity.

Let the name-calling commence.

Let us start a movement of name-calling, one that our world is not familiar with. Where we speak names to people that bring an identity of acceptance, care and love.

The name-calling I am suggesting declares an identity of hope.

You are one of a kind, no one can do the things that you do, and no one can offer this world what you absolutely are created to offer it. These are true words for the masses — these are true words to start name-calling with.

Let the name-calling commence.

Freedom teaching: “Words.” Every Monday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m., through Oct. 10 at South Bay Church, 13498 U.S. 301 S., Riverview. Join us for a teaching and small group focus to heal words that wound. To learn more about the Freedom Ministry or South Bay Church, visit southbay.cc.

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