Every Monday we’ll post something about maintaining your sexual integrity. Hope it helps.
Your Name, Your Impact
“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” - Charles Spurgeon
The people who’ve known you feel something when they hear your name, because your name represents how you’ve affected them. Interesting how that works.
By way of example, just monitor your emotions while reading these names:
Like I said, interesting. A name evokes a feeling based on what you know of, or have experienced with, that person. And that speaks to the power of your name, and its impact.
I learned this the hard way a few years back when a woman I’d known in junior high school contacted me. She and I went steady (does anyone use that term anymore?) for a few months in 9th grade, which, to a 9th grader, constitutes a serious, long-term commitment. I even gave her a St. Christopher medal, the standard token of true love in the 1960’s. Then I broke it off for reasons I can’t remember, we moved on to separate high schools, and separate lives.
Forty years later she heard me on a radio interview, double checked to make sure it was the same Joe Dallas, then e-mailed me via our website. Her message was lovely and funny, and it was wonderful to hear she’d become a believer and was doing so well in life. But one comment she made left me pretty rattled: “You really broke my heart, and it took quite a while for me to regain my confidence.”
She left her number, I called, and when I mentioned her remark she laughed, waving it off as nothing but a school-girl fling. But then she described how for years, if someone said my name, she’d get a cold, ugly feeling. Certainly not because she had trouble getting over me, but rather, she had trouble getting over the false ideas about herself that came as a result of our breakup. Or the way I handled our breakup. Or whatever. My name had become a minor curse to her, making her young life, in a small but notable way, a little harder.
That hurt, and I still feel like such a brainless jerk when I think about it.
But that’s why I find it helpful, when I‘m tempted, to take a few minutes by myself and say my name out loud, along with the names of the people I love – wife, family, valued friends – and let the reality of who I am, what I stand for, and what matters most to me sink in. Because when I’m thinking about those critical things, it sure pours cold water on a sexual temptation. Who I really am doesn’t fit well, or even adequately, with blatant sin. The thing I crave at a given moment may have some appeal, but to give in to it, “it” being a sexual fantasy or worse, I’d pretty much have to block out who I really am. On the other hand, to set my thoughts on what my name embodies to me, including the values and beliefs attached to it, makes it impossible to relish something unclean, ungodly, and completely at odds with all that my name represents.
Same with you. So when the mind drifts or the eye wanders, and the notion of indulging some lust starts to sound appealing, try saying your name, along with that of the people you love, and the things in life you value most. I think you’ll find that to be a quick, simple technique for diffusing sexual temptation, and for keeping it clean.
You have a name, and it matters because you matter, and it has impact, because you do. When you consider that, it can sober you up like an icy shower. What you do privately will come out, one way or another, openly. And what comes from your life openly will be attached, sturdily and always, to your name. Let’s you and I hold that thought today, because it could just be a life saver.