Not many adults consider themselves name-callers. We know words should be used to encourage and lift up. Yet, we often ignore the way we speak to ourselves.
As adults, not many of us consider ourselves name-callers. Of course we’e already learned the importance of using words to encourage and speak well of others!
Yet, how we do often ignore the way we speak to ourselves?
Nothing makes my blood boil faster than hearing our children tearing each other down with words.
New vocabulary like ‘butt-face’ and ‘meanie’ suddenly flowing out of a 5 year old’s mouth did surprise me. But the words didn’t surprise me nearly as much as the volume and irony of my response; teaching kindness with yelling is inherently ineffective.
Our kids were sufficiently surprised as well. Not my best Mom-ent
I felt immediate regret. My obvious failure in giving a rational and appropriate response left me feeling defeated. So when that familiar voice whispered, “You’re a terrible mother,” I believed it. In doing so, I opened the door to mom-guilt and let it rush on in.
Oh, how God must feel when we believe such lies.
The Truth About Name-Calling
Name-calling is based on lies. When we reduce others, or ourselves to labels, we speak lies. We aren’t defined by the things we say, or the failures and mistakes we do.
No name-calling word can adequately describe who we are.
When our children call each other names, it does make me mad. But when our children believe the names they are called, it breaks my mama-heart. They are believing lies. And those lies, uncontested, can easily be carried into adulthood.
Have you carried any lies about who you are from childhood into adulthood?
A Good Father
Just as we love our children, God is our Father. He knows us best, because He created us. And He loves us perfectly.
If we get upset when our children believe lies, how much more must He desire we not believe the lies Satan whispers? Because God knows our hearts and thoughts, He knows every single lie we toss around in our minds, even those we would never repeat out loud, or admit to any person on this earth.
In our house, when our kids tearfully share hurtful words spoken by others, we respond, “That’s not God’s truth,” and share with them what is.
Surely, God wants to address our own internal name-calling with His truth as well!
Are You A Name Caller?
If I asked you today if you consider yourself to be a name-caller, I’m betting you’d firmly say ‘No’.
As adults, not many of us consider ourselves name-callers. Most of us have experienced being called names by other children or even adults. We know it hurts and have had to learn the hard way the value of spoken words. They can be used to lift up or tear down. Hopefully, by now, we have learned the importance of using words to encourage and speak well of others!
Yet, how we do often ignore the way we speak to ourselves?
Our worst critic isn’t found in the voices of others. The most disparaging voice is that familiar one within. Many of us harbor an inner dialogue characterized by terrible unspoken names we would never utter out-loud.Our worst critic isn't found in the voices of others. The most disparaging voice is that familiar one within. Many of us harbor an inner dialogue characterized by terrible unspoken names we would never utter… Click To Tweet
Let me ask you again. Are you a name-caller?
Names We Call Ourselves
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
Satan is the chief name-caller. He lurks, ready to whisper carefully crafted lies in the midst of our weaknesses, heartaches and failures. Some of us are getting far too comfortable with the liar’s voice, aren’t we?
Name-calling is catchy; children repeat what they hear.
We may be grown up, but we’re no different. Satan whispers lies, then, like children, we do his dirty work by repeating them. Over time, we exchange those lies for truth.
While childhood insults like ‘butt-face’ may sting, most fade quickly. It’s easy to reason our faces don’t look like bottoms. In fact, we might even giggle at this instance of name-calling. Then we move on.
It’s the names that focus on our weak spots that really do damage.
Name-calling reeks of lies intended to attack our identity and worth. These lies directly oppose God’s truth. These names neglect the grace, love and forgiveness God has already extended to you and me.
Just like children, we need to learn to stop name-calling.
Are you aware of the names you call yourself?Are you aware of the names you call yourself?#thisgratefulmama #selftalk Click To Tweet
A Spiritual Armor
God doesn’t expect us to know how to stop name-calling on our own. Like any good Father, He equips His children to fight lies, walking through the battle with us.
And God’s equipment isn’t wimpy! He doesn’t just tell us to stop and expect us to ‘will’ our name calling ways away. God knows we can’t; we’ll fail for sure.
No, God equips us with spiritual armor fit to fight an war our eyes can’t see.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,Ephesians 6:13-14 (ESV)
A Daily Dose of Truth
At the center of God’s spiritual armor is the belt of truth. Scripture.
Like any article of clothing, a belt cannot put itself on. It won’t leap off the floor onto our waist and buckle itself. We need the belt to be sure our unders aren’t showing when we bend down to chase those precious children around the park.
Just like our physical belts, we must daily do the work to pick up and put on our spiritual belts. The belt we wore yesterday won’t hold our pants up today if we don’t put it on. We need a daily dose of God’s Word to ensure our armor is in good working order.
We need to intentionally pick up our Bible daily and open it to see what it says. The truth won’t seep into our hearts and minds through osmosis or any other scientific theory. We have to read it. Think on it. Let it change us inside, then out.
Without a fresh helping of God’s Word, we will not be equipped to face whatever Satan feels like throwing at us. And of this I’m certain, Satan knows when we are at our weakest. He is ready and waiting for those moments. He won’t waste them.
Replacing Lies With Truth
As we study Scripture, God exposes lies, replacing them with truth. We must be willing to test the things we think about ourselves and others against God’s Word.
As the Bible becomes more familiar, we begin memorizing passages. Memorized scripture and phrases equip us to respond to Satan’s lies and our name-calling with God’s Word.
A work in progress.
We Can Control Our Response
The belt of truth cements the breastplate of righteousness over our hearts. When we know and believe the Gospel, we recognize our right-standing before God and it becomes increasingly hard for lies to take root.
We don’t have to be name callers anymore!
That may be easy to say, but it is hard to do, isn’t it?
Satan never gives up. The attacks will keep coming when we experience failures and disappointments. Challenges and setbacks are expected. But we take heart in knowing our God is faithful; He never leaves us to fight alone!
Like a parent addressing a child’s name-calling, the Holy Spirit addresses ours. God knows we need this lesson repeated. So as we begin entertaining lies, God gives us what we need to fight back. With Him, we don’t have to participate in Satan’s schemes.
While we cannot control our children’s words or Satan’s whispers, we can control our response.
Armed and Ready
Today, we admit our name-calling ways and declare, “that’s not God’s truth.” Then we put on God’s armor and use it to fend off the next arrow Satan launches.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
Satan is prowling, waiting for someone to devour. Are you armed and ready to confront lies with truth? Stand firm, with the belt of truth securely anchoring the knowledge of your righteous standing before God.Satan is prowling, waiting for someone to devour. Are you armed and ready to confront lies with truth? Stand firm, with the belt of truth securely anchoring the knowledge of your righteous standing before God. #thisgratefulmama… Click To Tweet
Refuse to be a name-caller anymore.
Do you struggle knowing who and Whose you are? These words of encouragement and truth from John Piper are a great place to begin replacing lies with truth: Fully Known and Truly Loved by Desiring God
If you’re looking for specific truths the Bible says about you, check out this resources from Joyce Meyer Ministries, Knowing Who I Am In Christ. It lists specific truths, along with scripture references to become familiar with, and possibly memorize to battle the lies you’ve been believing about yourself.