The Lord gave me ‘Sojourner,’ because I was to travel up an’ down the land, showin’ the people their sins an’ bein’ a sign unto them. Afterwards, I told the Lord I wanted another name ’cause everybody else had two names, and the Lord gave me ‘Truth,’ because I was to declare the truth to people. ~Sojourner Truth
She was sincere and alarmed, disgruntled and uncomfortable. God was talking to her.
My young friend was having difficulties with a brother and sister. She felt that God was compelling her to pray for them. So she settled down, Bible on her lap, feet tucked under her, head bowed.
“God, you know these two are really giving me trouble.”
Say their names.
She sat stunned. Did she really just hear God? Did he really tell her she had to say their names?
“What? You want me to what? But they’re my enemies. I’ll pray for them, but I don’t want to say their names.”
Say their names.
She sighed and started praying again- naming each offender instead of each offense.
A week later she told me the relationships were mended.
Names are our identity. We are not a number, not another face in the crowd, not just another thing that has to be dealt with.
When my friend prayed for her enemies by name, she lowered the gate to her heart.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6: 32-36 NIV
I’m guessing your daily life doesn’t include machine guns and tanks. You don’t fly stealth bombers. You don’t have night-vision goggles.
But you do know people who hurt you, say things about you. People who do their best to get under your skin. People who push your buttons.
Jesus said to love them. Be kind to them.
Go ahead. Try it.
Call them by name.