Name Calling

by Jeff Pohlman

© 10 January, 2006


Proverbs 22 : 1  A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver or gold.

(New American Standard Version [NASV]- AMG Publishers - Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. Greek Study Bible)

There is a situation which occurs in "Christian" circles which I want to put a finger on.

Humorously (if you stand back and get a good overall perspective), you will notice from time to time that cliques can and do form, no matter how hard we try for the opposite.  Eventually you might hear the charge leveled that a clique exists.  When membership in a particular clique might be impossible to gain, you might even hear a complaint that so-and-so is a "controller."  If you're too close in, there is no humor in it, to you, but for those standing a distance out, with a detached eye of maturity, this can look humanly humorous.

My wife and I giggle quite a bit about this, because in truth, we are ALL controllers.  We ALL have our ways, and there are far too many control-techniques for me to enumerate or explain.  It doesn't matter whether someone is an extrovert or an introvert, male or female, and so forth, we ALL have our manners of being controllers.  The challenge of course is to bring our controlling nature into alignment with Christ's will for our lives.

The difficulty exists because our original design and make up is that we are made in the image of God.  That has nothing to do with how we look in our appearances,  it has everything to do with our character.  That character is that we are made as relational as He is, a three-yet-one being.  Not only is He a dynamic three-as-one being, but He created us because He wanted even more fellowship, more relationships.  He didn't create rocks, or animals, or plants to have relationship with.  He created humans to be spirit-soul-and-body beings to have relationships with.  And lots of them.  Obviously, the sin problem got in the way.

So, we have this God-given capacity to want the deepest possible relationships available, with Him first, and with the others whom He knits us into contact with.

As you know, not all fellowship and relationships turn out wonderful, over time.  Not only do I hear people leveling the charge that someone is a controller, but I also hear the accusation that some gal has a Jezebel Spirit.  In the simplest form, might I suggest that that is not always true, and we should curb our tongues, no matter how tempting it is to offer such an accusation.

Speaking something over someone, especially of such impact, is akin to speaking a curse as opposed to a blessing, and that lumps us into the same category as those today who are playing around with pagan wiccan practices, just because they find the Harry Potter book and film series to be entertaining.  Put a little more bluntly, satan is satan, and there is no excuse for invoking his evil charms and destructive ways (rob, steal, kill and destroy is still his dossier), and we have no business wielding such spirit-terror on fellow Christians.

Before claiming that some gal has a Jezebel spirit, I highly recommend looking at what and who Jezebel was in the first place.  The evil that she flung around was a horror, I am not sure that even Hillary Rodham Clinton does such things (AND, I have even heard her accused of being a Jezebel, with all sorts of sage warnings being tossed about, to look out if she becomes president and Bill becomes first-lady).  I understand that those two dragged the bottom of the barrel when it comes to exhibiting moral uprightness as our country's prime leaders, but we still must be careful in how we sashay about with our tongues.

To say that someone is a Jezebel is also to accuse that she is in cahoots with an Ahab-type husband.  Again, I highly recommend reading the whole story, out of the Bible, before anyone starts throwing that accusation around.  My wife and I watched a movie the other day, and the director's commentary proclaimed that certain scenes showed that it was obvious that a woman directed the movie filming.  The obviousness is lost on us, but we understand the intent of the statement.  Likewise, just because I am talking about Jezebel here, doesn't mean that men are exempt from gossiping equally as much a women, nor that men are any less controlling than women.  As I said at the opening, truth be told, if we stand back and look with a detached eye, we see that men and women both have these capacities, and we should not delude ourselves into thinking otherwise.  I have seen men who have had insidious characters as the evil leading role in a marriage and the wife is the behind the scenes screwed up nut case, as a flip-flop of Jezebel and Ahab.

Furthermore, I have heard people use the exact terminology of some gal being a Jezebel, when delivering prophetic words to folks, and my counsel is that a prophet better be extremely careful in offering words which are taken as "Thus sayeth the Lord..."  If it really comes from the mind of God, fine, but that is a horrible metaphor to throw at anyone, when it is possibly being misapplied.  I do mean horrible, and when you read the whole storyline, you will understand why I say that.

Something you rarely hear, but which looks far more near the truth, is that when these women are being accused, they actually are exhibiting the "type" of Moses' sister Miriam, and if you read the accounts of her manipulation and control, it is probably much nearer to accuracy to say that someone has a Sister Miriam Spirit.

Nonetheless, when handling personalities within our ranks, misplaced finger pointing is a most damaging and utterly destructive behavior.  When we are exhorted (encouraged) by Jesus, that the world will know us, and that He sent us, by the love we exhibit toward each other, we'd best consider that, the next time we are tempted to call someone any sort of ill-gotten name.

A technique which my wife utilizes very successfully, and has taught me, is that when someone gets you all worked up into a lather (especially someone from the Body of Christ),

  • take a sane moment, sit down and write on two sheets of paper,

  • one page outlining all of the bad qualities and properties of the person in question, and

  • on the other page, all of the good.

  • Be exhaustive, and as detailed as possible.

  • Take your time.

  • Get in every detail you can think of.

  • When you think you have come up with as-complete a résumé as you can think of,

  • Shred & toss the page of "bad," and don't go back to thinking about those attributes.

Now focus on the good, and encourage the future-good.  If I hear you complaining about how difficult of an exercise this is, I will remind you to pull out your Bible and we will find teachings from Jesus Himself who taught us to do this very thing.

Proverbs 10 : 7  The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.

(New American Standard Version [NASV]- AMG Publishers - Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. Greek Study Bible)

Proverbs 10 : 7  A good and honest life is a blessed memorial; a wicked life leaves a rotten stench.

(The MESSAGE [The Bible in Contemporary Language]- NavPress - Eugene H. Peterson)


© 2006  Permission to copy or reprint granted only if full version is quoted and proper notation of authorship recognition is given.



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