The nations will see your righteousness… you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
We’re entering high season in the Presidential campaign—and it’s getting ugly. Barack Obama and John McCain belong to highly influential minorities: African-Americans and senior citizens. While both try their best to tiptoe around this (with varying success), their supporters are having a field day hauling out every imaginable slur. Obama fans slam McCain as a senile has-been out of touch with modern society. McCain fans fuel the fires of racism, portraying Obama as an arrogant radical. Misrepresentations and exaggerations grow more irresponsible by the hour, raising serious concerns that this crucial moment in time will be marred by unwarranted prejudice.
What’s In a Name?
Gay people surely relate to being unjustly mislabeled. The lexicon of insults for us goes on and on. To our shame, we’ve also coined unflattering nicknames ridiculing one another for the “types” we’re attracted to, our style, etc. We shrug it off. “What’s in a name?” we say. But it still hurts and gnaws at our self-assurance.
The worst of the worst comes when hostile fellow believers resort to name-calling. Hearing the same inflammatory language as that used by secular bigots appalls us. It also leads us into the same snare. Not seeing, loving, and accepting them as individuals, we lump them together as a stereotype. This helps no one.
A New Name
Isaiah has a superb strategy for shaking off hateful labels. It comes down to being correct rather correcting others: “People will see your righteousness and you’ll be called by a new name.” We don’t re-christen ourselves with some clever, media-savvy title. God bestows it as only He can by dealing with our adversaries’ misguided perceptions. As we prove ourselves to Him, He reveals who we are to others.
In Ezekiel, He pledges to restore Israel’s identity from a nation of outcasts to one of integrity: “They will no longer be victims… or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people.” (Ezekiel 34. 29-30)
GLBT believers should claim this promise. Disregard the propaganda excluding “queers,” “perverts,” and every other vicious epithet from following Christ. Just do it. Do it well and do it right. God has given you a new name. Whomever these haters want to hurt, most definitely it’s not you.
"Forgive me, but I have absolutely no idea who you're talking about..."