I went to a family reunion of sorts recently. It was actually a funeral. I saw people who I have not seen since I was a small child. Other people I had not seen in just a few years. Most of them I recogonized, despite not having seen them in a long time. Somewhere between the time of social gathering and meeting and greeting a group of ladies started staring at me. I began a conversation with them that went something along the lines of this: woman 1: “You look just like you father.” Woman 2: “Yes, but she speaks and moves just like her mother.”
So the conversation continued regarding which parent I most resembled. “You look like the Hamiltons.” “No you look like the England side of your family.” Then a third voice spoke up and said, “well I believe she resembles the Harris side of the family.”
Family labels can come with a lot of baggage. “She has a stubborn streak like the Hamiltons.” “The England family are good people.” and so on. It is enough to make the mind spin. Who am I? What characteristics do I take away from each side of the family. How does that label me? Does it label me?
A few years back I thought I was destined to repeat the mistakes of my family. I thought I was labeled, my destiny was ahead of me. I did not like what I saw.
I have spent the latter part of my life trying to break free from some of the negative impacts of certain parts of my family. I seldom associate with those whom have had a negative impact on me.
Then there are labels which were given to you as an individual. Maybe you were told that you were stupid, or that you were not good enough, fat-so, or unworthy. Maybe your siblings all seem to be better than you; and you feel like the outcast. These words can leave us so wounded as children. Then those words and labels follow us into adulthood and shape the way we view ourselves in comparison to others, and how we interact with others.
When Jesus came, he came to place a new name upon us. We are His Beauty. His Beloved. In fact, scripture says in Col. 2:22, “. . .As a result, He has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are Holy and Blameless before Him without a single fault.” The letter to the Ephesians echoes the same thought: Eph. 1:4 “Long ago, even before He made the world, God Loved us and chose us in Christ to be Holy and without fault in His eyes.”
Do you hear what Paul is saying? We are blameless and without fault.– Pure in the sight of God. This is what Jesus came to do! He came so that we can stand in the awesomeness of God without all the negative labels which we think define us. He came to change our name into something Beautiful.
Below is a video with beautiful lyrics. The intro is a bit long, but listen to what it says.
“I Will Change Your Name”
I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face.