It isn’t true, you know, what our parents taught us, that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” Sticks and stones can cause bruises, lacerations, concussions, and yes broken bones, but that will all heal. Being called a nasty name is like being given poison or a virus; it can get inside of you and rot your insides. It can stick in your soul like a parasite.
The work of nasty names is insidious, because long after the people who called you that name are dead and gone, you might continue to repeat it to yourself, thinking it is true, thinking it defines you, thinking that is who you are, thinking that is more real than your actual name.
Jesus took the names we call each other very seriously, comparing them to murder: “if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, "You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire.” [Matthew 5:22]
No longer will the people of God be defined by the cruel or pitying names others put on us. Now we will be defined by the love of one who sees into our soul and sees what we were made to be, what we are capable of being.