Calling Names

In view of a recent report of children calling their own classmates names, intending to put a derogatory slant on a particular ethnic group or other, I came upon the Epistle of James and found great enlightenment in his teaching concerning prejudices of every sort.

In the Old Testament Almighty God was exclusive in admitting those who could enter into the congregation of the Tabernacle; who could offer sacrifices; who could serve in the ministry.

He allowed no Moabite to come into the congregation because of how they had treated the Israelis when they were passing through the wilderness. (However, Ruth was a Moabitess and and ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ!). Also, people with certain diseases were not to be admitted into the congregation because the Lord God was preparing for Himself a people whom He would call unto Himself and from whom the Messiah would proceed and so Our GOD acted exclusively in many situations concerning hedonistic nations, the idolaters, the perverted nations and the many “ites” whom the Lord enabled Israel to overcome and destroy in their trek to the promised land.
BUT then….Jesus !! Jesus came! and took all of that rejection, that prejudice, those offenses and those offended, those diseases, those perverted sins of mankind….from the beginning of creation until eternity…He took them upon Himself on the Cross
Eph. 2 14 explains it very well. “For He is Himself, our Peace, our bond of unity and harmony. He has made both Jew and Gentile one body and has broken down that wall of prejudice and partition….abolished it; destroyed it…that wall of hostility that divides us, by abolishing in His own crucified flesh the enmity caused by the Law with its decrees and ordinances….those He annulled…thus reconciling us to GOD and us to one another….killing off the mutual enmity among us….forever.”
So now! How must we conduct ourselves concerning the nations of the world that are living among us, now? So how must we conduct ourselves toward and What must we teach our children, our students, our neighbors’ kids, our young kinfolk?
So James! What is he telling us in chapter 2 of his book? He says in 2:1, “My brethren, pay no servile regard, no prejudice, no partiality….do not practice the faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST with snobbery!…whether it be a superior attitude toward the poor and indigent, or the foreigner or alien in our midst…who do we think we are? What do we have that Christ did not give us? Do noy discriminate among yourselves and become critics and judges with wrong motives. Do not humiliate, insult and dishonor one group whom the Lord God has created to be on this earth and show contempt…..But….you shall love your neighbor as yourself as Jesus demonstrated in His parable of the Good Samaritan. And as the Holy Spirit showed Peter when he was asleep on the roof awaiting his supper and the Lord showed him a sheet from Heaven with all types of creatures within. And Peter understood that WHAT GOD HAS CLEANSESD DO NOT CALL UNCLEAN or humiliate or mock.
James concludes with…”to him who shows no mercy, the judgment will be merciless. But Mercy, full of joyful confidence and trust, exults over judgment!
Deliver us from a judgmental spirit, prejudice, faulty opinions and snobbery, Dear Lord, we pray.

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12 thoughts on “Calling Names”

  1. It is my opinion that this does not speak well of the school, teachers, or staff. People perish for lack of knowledge. I believe open dialogue and awareness brings respect and love of others. Love covers a multitude of sin according to God’s Word. Respect and honor of others gives one honor and respect of self.

    Someone has to take the responsibility of teaching, love one another as I have loved you. Maybe this is the reason why so very many people are loving Obama. He sure has taught this nation or the people of this nation that will listen, that are teachable, that ‘you can overcome.’ Just as Martin Luther King, Jr’s name brings the power of overcoming to my mind, heart and spirit. We can all talk, quote, write holy scrip, but without flesh on the word it goes nowhere! God’s Grace is God meeting us at our point of need in the Person of Jesus Christ, including all His power and provision. The arm of flesh will fail us. Poor children-and ignorant adults, only see and know the arm of flesh in situations like name calling because of color of skin and ethnic. Is this behavior intended to teach ethnic cleansing. Dear God, where are the teachers and their boldness like St. Paul and Peter had!

  2. Lord, I pray for that child that may feel hurt, from a derogatory comment. I pray that you will be the Healer for this child, that he/she will be an overcomer. Lord, please help the adults, in authority, to be mindful of this, and to take the appropriate action.

  3. Reading a blog like this, causes one to wonder….why does a child “name call”? Why doesn’t the teacher/adult intervene? Could the child doing the name calling, need attention? Does the teacher feel, they could lose their job, if they intervene?

  4. Of course ,if the teacher is present when the name calling occurs, there are interventions and consequences. But often these are playground or restroom incidents, or on the school bus or at “daycare” and more often than not the prejudiced remarks and attitudes do not necessarily originate in the classroom, per se in the presence of a teacher or principal.
    When I was in elementary school, bullies waited behind trees on the way home from school to harass and badger their intended victims. Sometimes bullies older than I would call names and chase us on the way home from school…a journey which became a dreaded voyage on those days.
    I have noticed that the youngest children in the classes rarely discriminate among themselves, i.e. differences in color, class, ethnic and culture go virtually unnoticed among the little ones. As they mature there seems to be an increase in this sort of thing.
    When one parent was called after a particular incident of name calling, the parent admitted that they have had the same problem at home and the neighborhood and had had a hard time in controlling the child concerning this for a long time.
    When we try teach tolerance and brotherly love, without being able to discuss the love of God and the brotherhood of man under a compassionate God, there is not the incentive to act in the “love thy neighbor as thyself” attitude.

  5. Yes I have witnessed children name calling numerous times in my career as an elementary school teacher. Sometimes the name calling occurs on the bus, the cafeteria, a special – like art, music, or P.E., or in the regular classroom. Students when called a name outside the classroom sometimes share with the regular classroom teacher the name calling and sometimes not. I have actually been informed by parents of the name calling which did not occur in the regular classroom. Sometimes the name calling is to get attention but most of the time it is just plain cruel. I usually confront the student who called the name and make them apologize in front of their peers. Other children seem not to want to tell, confusing tattling with sharing facts with the teacher. On certain occasions the name calling becomes a bullying issue and the counselor is involved. Bullying issues seem to be involved at every grade level. Why does a student feel he can bully and/or harm another? What hurts and upsets in his/her life stir them up to inflict name calling, harm, etc. on another child? Thank goodness to counselors who search for answers. Thank goodness we ourselves have the Great Counselor, Jesus Christ, as our model. May we as teachers role model HIM and may He help us with the name calling and so many social issues. Each child comes with a story of their own and it impacts the child’s life and actions in and out of school.

  6. I think we can always teach love. Love comes in every color, shade, class, ethnic and culture. We can model it, express it with words and show it with hugs. We can always give love and hope that will cause faith to rise in little hearts of all peoples.

    The Holy Spirit is working night and day and day and night to bring the love of Jesus to all peoples. I believe it.

    Yes,Needles, one that has it in their heart to ‘name call’ , is hurting and they need lots of love and we have it to give without measure because it flows from a higher source through us, if we allow it.

    And, of course the child would name call at home if he named called at school. We are what we are regardless. They may have heard grown ups use this language or show their disdain of others and the child may be testing the waters with others to see or try and understand what it means. Somewhere in the mix someone has to show the truth to the child. Children usually respond to love and truth.

    We all stand poor and naked in the eyes of poverty, education, morals, and social hierarchy. God help all of us if we don’t belong to the right religious denomination. And, the one that has been called a name needs to know how to respond properly as well so they are not left for life with angry, hurt and or inferiority. We have work to do and to keep on doing while we have the opportunity to make a difference. Change wrongs to right.

  7. That is so true, Rena. As a specialist teacher who sees over 700 children a week, I am not always informed of all the conflicts that some of these little ones endure at home or in other areas of their little lives. (Sometimes that is a good thing! Sometimes, not) Often, it does result in an Acting Out because that’s all they know in how to react to a situation. Sometimes they withdraw. We need the counsel of the Holy Spirit to help us minister to all the children. Only He knows what each child needs. If we listen to Him and heed what He says we may save a little life from darkness, hurt and even destruction. Several of our younger children say they are “depressed” Sometimes it is the situation at home and sometimes they feel rejected by their peers. That’s awful! Some come to me complaining that no one wants to partner with them in a singing game, etc. When it happens over and over again throughout the year, then the red flag goes up and it is obvious that that child need encouragement. Fortunately, Music is a great tool in helping to minister to the dejected, rejected and child who holds himself in low esteem.
    “Suffer the little children to come unt ME and I THROUGH YOU will give them rest.”

  8. At the beginning of this school year Sara helped make me aware and understand just how important a student’s name is to them and how important it is to address and acknowledge their names properly. We visited the elementary school where DJ works and I saw the names of students so creatively displayed at each classroom door welcoming them to the new school year. Sara suggested I do something similar to welcome my high school students. I really hadn’t thought much about how valuable this could be to a high school student but I trusted her wisdom and got to work. Since it was a horticulture class I chose to paint a wooden apple with their full first name for each one. I then hung them on a live potted crabapple tree as a welcome. They were delighted and some said aloud ‘I saw my name on the tree’. It made them feel acknowledged, special and wanted. It also helped open discussion as to each one’s unique value as a person and a team member of the class. They are a diverse group representing several different nations but I thank the Lord that throughout the year they have interacted and worked together, helping and respecting one another. Thank you Sara for help with positive name calling. I believe it made the difference.

  9. Thank you very kindly and I am much appreciative Debi for your positive feedback on an idea I gave you and you implemented and it worked for good for your students. Also, for Dorothy allowing us the walk through of her school where we were stimulated to fresh ideas. We all need to past along the ideas that prove successful and allow others the choice to use them or not as well as give credit to the idea maker. I love it when ideas and idea doers work together, great things happen. Many times we forget where the idea came from and think we had the idea and the work, usually pride, and the success might be at a minimum rather than max.
    Gary taught from Luke 11 on Sunday where we pray together the Lord’s Prayer, Our Father, yes a name, Our Father, he reminded the church just how important God sees and honors names. Names given in the Bible had great meanings and they still do. Thanks P Gary for your imput into this situation even before you heard about it. Like always the answers are right there, right in the Word of God.

    Thanks again Debi for giving positive solutions to help other teachers and schools to have even more success with their precious students.

  10. Today in class, I looked with diffenet “eyes” at the faces of my diminutive kindergarteners and tried to see them as Jesus would see them. Their lovely little faces, clear eyes looking to the teacher for some treasure of learning, or a glance of recognition thrown their way. They performed their little classroom skit for me with perfection and precision. They had learned the little tunes well. The snaps and claps came in the right places and they remembered their lines. I stood in awe of these tiny little creatures, Kindergarten!! What a wonder of creation, Dear GOD, that You have allowed me the privelege of and opportunity to have input into their precious, incomparable lives. What a responsibility.
    I just want to thank God and the parents who produced these inimitable souls. I loved each and every one of them, precious in the sight of GOD and man are they.
    There was no comptetition among them. There was no name calling. There was no recognition of differences among the although in that little class of 25 students at least 4 or 5 nationalities, 3 races and seveal more cultures were represented there. But…There was only support and assistance as they helped the little actors and singers with their lines if there was a pause or mistake. It makes one want to give the world and the love of God to each one. And so I will do with all my heart that God -given mission.
    Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou has perfected praise!

  11. We must be very cautious with name calling and mockery. We must also teach our children about the seriousness of this problem. Elisha took it very serious in 2 Kings 23 “Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” 24 Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them.”
    Name calling is hurtful. Our words can help heal or they can destroy. Some adults have just as much problem with name calling and mockery as some children. This is wrong and against God. We don’t build ourselves up by putting others down. We must be cautious of the bear in the woods. I’ll bet those boys wished they would have kept there words to themselves. Lord, please help us to chose our words wisely and build instead of destroy.

  12. Sara I agree when you say the child that is name calling is hurting…as you said it could be heard in the home and repeated….the child itself could be the reciever of the name calling in the home and uses it to hurt others just as he himself is hurt…. I heard when I was a child a little saying the children would use when name calling happened “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me call me this and call me that but call yourself just like that”..but the truth is those words/names did hurt and the hurt if not dealt with is carried into adulthood and is much harder to deal with……..Yes Chickenfarmer I agree with your prayer…Lord, please help us to chose our words wisely and build instead of destroy…..dj

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