Fictional heroine Meg Murry trembles, appalled. Evil Echthroi roam the earth, threatening the lives of all. An angelic mentor declares Meg is a Namer, one who knows who people are meant to be.
“War and hate are [Echthroi] business,” the angel declares, “and one of their chief weapons is un-Naming — making people not know who they are.”
“Meg, when people don’t know who they are, they are open either to being Xed or Named.”
The ensuing dialogue rattles me. Every time Meg judges, disrespects, or despises someone — even silently — she un-names, or “X’s,” that individual. Denigrating their personhood, she dismisses God’s highest vision for them.
She abets enemy goals.
Now I am appalled. When riled, I sometimes forget we are all equally cherished by God — despite diverging ideas, beliefs, and behaviors. Silent slander poisons my thoughts. I mentally conjure black-humor nicknames. My brain scripts ugly retorts.
Am I alone in this?
We may not malign others aloud, yet how often do we cede responses anchored in love to interior libel?
Recent minefields for me include:
- The latest toxic allegations
- So-and-so’s idiotic decisions
- De-humanizing tweets
- Murder, after being asked to wear a mask
9 With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness.
10 Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen!
11 Do clean and polluted water flow out of the same spring? (James 3:9-11, Names of God Bible)
With God as our shared wellspring, how will we Name one another?
I go back to The Manual.
You are God’s child (John 1:12).
You are not condemned (Romans 8: 1-2).
You are a work-in-progress (Philippians 1:6).
You are called by name (Isaiah 43:1b).
You are loved (Colossians 3:12).
Liberal, moderate, or conservative — friends, let us meet again, at the Cross. Let’s begin anew the good work of Naming one another according to God’s truth.
If you wouldn’t mind dipping into your wellspring of wisdom . . .
What helps you bless those who seem like enemies?
Dialogue from A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L’Engle.
Photo by Senya Zhukavin on Unsplash