What’s in a Name?

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In the famous play “Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare wrote: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

It was spoken by Juliet, who knew that Romeo’s last name was the last name of her family’s enemy.  Her point was that Romeo would still be Romeo, no matter what name he was called by.

My point is that God is God and Messiah is Messiah: no matter what name we use, that name will not change who they are.

Now, I am positive (and I base this on experience) that there are more than a few people reading this who are beginning to vent steam out of their ears because I am saying it doesn’t matter what name they use when they address God or Messiah.  To those people, using a name different from the one they think is correct is no less than blasphemy.

I do not think poorly of these people because I recognize their love for God and Messiah and their devotion to honoring them both. I respect the intensive research they have done over the years to come to the conclusion that they know the correct name. I also understand that to them, using any other name is an insult to God.

I would like to ask this of those people: Do you really think God will reject someone praying to Him with a contrite heart and a broken spirit (Psalm 51) just because the name they use is the only name they have ever known for Him?  Do you really think God will say to Himself, “That’s a nice prayer and I can see they are truly repentant, but I never liked –whatever- as my name so they can just go to hell.” ?  Really?

For myself, I cannot see God refusing a repentant sinner because the sinner calls out to God using a name that isn’t exactly the same name He told Moses.  I also cannot see Messiah refusing to represent a sinner that has called out to Him simply because “Jesus” isn’t the Hebrew name for Him.

Here’s a thought….when somebody tells someone else, as I have seen all too often, that the name they are using for God is wrong and implies that it won’t be heard, isn’t that the real insult to God? Isn’t that the same thing as saying God is too self-absorbed, too egocentric and too “picky” to accept a prayer to Him just because someone uses a name that may not be exactly the way God knows it should be pronounced?

I want to ask those people who are (pardon me for saying it this way) so obsessive about God’s “real” name to please try to remember God’s merciful nature, His understanding and His compassion; I would like to ask that you please STOP telling people that they have to use the name YOU think is right. Have you ever thought that you may be the one who is in the wrong? Could it be that you are the one who may be wrong because you are speaking for God?

Who are you, or me, or anyone to tell anybody else that their prayers and devotion are wrong just because they don’t call God the same name you call Him?

Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe, your pronunciation is not correct? If so, are you willing to be judged in the same way that you are judging others?

Please think about that before you correct someone else.

I believe God and Messiah are both “big” enough to be able to handle someone mispronouncing their name. Don’t you?

And if it doesn’t bother them, it shouldn’t bother us.

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