A Rose by Any Other Name …

… would smell as sweet.

But would it?

Do names matter?

I profoundly believe they do.

I was baptised “Michael John”, named after a young Christian man who died as a bomber pilot in WW2. But at the Preparatory school I attended boys began to call me “Jeff”, after a comic strip in The Comet called “Jeff Arnold and the Riders of the Range”. The name stuck. Over the years I decided that “Geoff” looked better. Only my family called me “Michael”.

I could have reversed this when I attended Rhodes University. But I introduced myself as “Geoff”. It was, I think, part of a rebellion against my father, who not unnaturally disliked my being called by a name my parents had not chosen. 

Then I became a Christian. The rebellion against my father ended.

But I still retained the nickname. I introduced myself to my wife-to-be as “Geoff”. She called me that for the first years of our marriage.

Then a friend said to me that whenever Jesus spoke to her about me, He called me “Michael”.

That really made me think.