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The Powerful Act of Naming

In the article "Leading by Naming," Mark Labberton speaks of the power names carry:

Every day our naming of the people around us gives life and takes it away. …
I can still feel the impact of a highly musical friend who one day called me musical. No one had ever called me that. I didn't really play an instrument. I was no soloist.
Yet what made this comment so remarkable was that I instantly felt known and loved. Why? Because I was being named in the way that always matters most: from the inside out.
The musicality of my life, fundamental and invisible as it is, has to do with my soul, not with instruments. It's about my way of being in the world, not about notes being played. The sheer, unexpected grace of being named "musical" stunned me. It's not the most important thing about me, but he "got me" in a way that noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me even though it is usually missed.
Being rightly named means being truly known. It changes our lives. …
Dalits ("Untouchables") in India are required by Hindu law to be given one name, and it must be derogatory: Ugly, Dung, Stupid. Imagine the transformation when they discover that, in Jesus, God came as a dalit … and that he has the power to rename them: Chosen. Holy. Beloved.

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