Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Rose By Any Other Name


“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1


Even as a young girl I had ideas about what I would name my children.  I believe I can safely say they’re very happy that I decided against some of those names.  Otherwise my daughter might be named Isla Fairity, or Harmony Grace! 

I think we all as parents try our best to give our child a special name.  Sometimes it’s from a dear relative, sometimes from a novel or movie, and a lot of times it’s from the Bible.  Yet, no matter what that name is, it’s the child who makes the name. 

Let’s do a little survey.  I’m going to give you 5 names, and I want you to write down what these names mean to you. Ready?








Consider how different these names become when they’re attached to a person or event.

Albert means noble and bright, but was the name of Al Capone.

Andrea means manly or virile, yet many girls carry the name.  You may have thought of Andrea Bocelli, a famous opera singer.

Charles means free man, but Charles Manson would disagree. 

Belle means beautiful, but few would call Belle Gunness was a serial killer.

Katrina means pure, but most likely you remembered hurricane Katrina.

Ted means a gift of God, but Ted Bundy who raped and murdered numerous women and girls had nothing to do with God.

Shakespeare said “a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet”, but if Rose became the name of a plague or serial killer, we’d no longer appreciate the name Rose.

Proverbs says a good name is greater than riches and gold.  But that name is just a name.  The proverb refers to the reputation that backs up the name. 

Several times in the Bible God renames someone.  I believe it’s so that they could walk in a different reputation.  Saul, killer of Christians, was first called Paul in Cyprus after his conversion.  Simon was a fisherman, but Peter was the name he was given, meaning “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).  Abram became Abraham when God told him he would be the father of a great nation, and his wife Sarai became Sarah.

It’s not the name that you should desire, it’s the reputation. 

I heard something today that hit home regarding names.  We all love the name Jesus and have read the Philippians 2:9 which says God gave Jesus “the name which is above every name”.  I’ve always seen this as a statement of the sacredness of the name Jesus.  But not today.  It’s about reputation. It’s about the man, not the name.  As I heard a pastor say it today.

The name Jesus is above Covid 19.

The name Jesus is above depression.

The name Jesus is above poverty.

The name Jesus is above evil.

…and you can continue the pattern.  Jesus is greater than all our problems.

Yes, a name is special.  But when we’re choosing one for our children, it’s not going to be a good name unless it has the attachment of a good reputation.  A rose stem without a flower is nothing but thorns.

So here's the thing. Parents, put as much attention on keeping your child's reputation a good one as you would your own. Let them grow up to understand right and wrong, to have hearts full of love and goodness. Teach them through your own actions to be patient, kind, loving, giving, and so on. Friends, we are all the product of our environment to a great extent. Make your child's environment free of all forms of evil. Explain to them what a reputation is and the value of keeping it clean.

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