"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," according to Shakespeare. But is it really true that names are unimportant?
God is in the naming business, and so is the devil. Whoever names, rules. God gave man dominion over the earth and let the first man name all the animals. Are you ruling the domain God gave you by calling good and evil by their correct names, or have you delegated that responsibility to media executives, psychologists and social planners?
"When I get to heaven and have a new name, I think it might be Simon Peter because that is the disciple I am most like," says Marshall, age unknown. "He was always opening his big mouth before he thought. I do that all the time."
If that's the case, the name "Simon Peter" in heaven will be as popular as Jones or Smith in America. Yes, Peter often spoke and acted rashly, but he also spoke with amazing insight when he spoke to Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). The Lord responded that he would build his church upon this rock (Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ).
Hannah Beth, 9, says she wants to be called "Angel" because that's her daddy's name for her.
Hannah Beth's comment about her dad calling her Angel demonstrates the tremendous power parents possess in influencing their children. With a name like Angel, she probably does her best to live up to her dad's expectations.
With the power to name comes great responsibility. Centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20).
I would hate to stand in the shoes of Hollywood trend-setters when they give an account to God for influencing millions of people to call evil good and vice versa.
But Christians should do more than point out what's wrong in society. We should take the lead by speaking the truth in love over any domain in which we have authority or influence.