Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Name Game

Proverbs 22:1
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.

I can remember, as a child, going to spend the night at a friends house. Before leaving, there was always a list of rules to go over by mother.
         #1- say "Yes man...Yes sir"
         #2- eat whatever they put on your plate come suppertime.
         #3- Don't make them have to get on to you....
The list would go on and on.....
It wasn't until years later that I realized that the reason for the list was not to keep me in line (that was a supposed by product of giving me the list), but to not shame my mothers name...the family name....

You see, lets suppose that I got to my friends house and proceeded to trash the furniture. Or maybe I just disobeyed their rules and, at the same time, declared that they couldn't make me behave because "They weren't my parents"....Well, it would not be old Michael Bynum's name that got bandied about through the community sir-ee Bob! IT would be Florine Bynum's name. I was a reflection of who she was. I was evidence of whether or not she raised me right. Rest assured, she did. I can't count the number of journeys I set out on to find, and cut a switch so that my mother could whip me. Or in the vernacular of the day, she set about to "kinnel them legs". I knew my mother loved me, and even though the whipping was not pleasurable on my end, I knew (after it was over) that is served me well to learn from it so as not to be asked to go and find another switch.

Sometimes I think we forget that we carry around the name of our heavenly Father. That our actions and behavior reflect on Him more than ourselves. Case in point.....Election time is coming up here in our state. The airwaves are being filled by solicitations to vote for a particular candidate. These commercials usually, at some point, refer to the said candidate's "Christian values"...or that they are a "Strong Christian". I'm not here to say that anyone who is running for office is or isn't a follower of Jesus....But I did mention to my wife that if we did go by all the commercials we've seen over the past 10 years, then Montgomery should be full of Christians. Laws should be getting passed, and the people of the sate should not worry about how the government is being run. But you know what? It's easy to say that you claim the name of Christ, when your actions may tell a different story. Bottom line is that the name of Christ gets smeared in the mud.

The same as when any prominent pastor/teacher is uncovered in scandal. Because of a hidden sin, they are uncovered and disgraced. Such actions always lead those who are living outside of God's will to start up the cry..."Why should I believe this God....I'm as good as any of those Christians"....And the word Christian is usually pronounced with sneer, as if it were being dragged through the mud. I do not think this pleases my heavenly Father. I think it, in fact, breaks His heart to see His name used in this way. To use His name for political advancement, or to manipulate a way into a position of power.

Whenever I'm teaching or speaking to a group who are in recovery, I usually ask them, "What do people say when your name is mentioned in your home town?" The response usually includes such names as "junkie"...."addict"..."liar"..."Thief"..."Low down sorry person"...
I continue by asking, "How did these folks arrive at this view?" Of course the answer is "By what I've done in the past." I then tell them that if they truly surrender will and life over to God's care, and receive His salvation, then God will rebuild your name, your reputation, and restore your self-worth as you follow Him. In other words, your name will be viewed as being a person of integrity...someone who keeps their words...someone who does the right thing. As it says in the Proverbs passage..."A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches."

Chew on this today and see what God would tell you.
God on you...


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