This phrase has been in my mind for several months now. It was written by William Shakespeare in his play, "Romeo and Juliet." I didn't know the origin before writing this article. As I researched it, I found it has quite a colorful inclusion in the play, according to some. I'll let you do the research on that yourself.
What if we called a rose an orgh or a gimst? Obviously, neither of these is a word (that I am aware of) in our English language. But just suppose with me that one of these was the name we use to refer to what we now call a rose. Would that orgh be any less pretty than it is as a rose? Would its fragrance be any different? Would the wonder of the emerging buds and flowers be changed because we call it something different? Would the color they add to centerpieces, bouquets, garden or hillside be any different if we named it gimst? Would the thorns be any less of a prickly situation for us?
I think we can all agree that the inherent qualities of the rose would not change just because we call it something else. Our perception of it may be different because of the name used, but the rose would still be what a rose is.
Now apply that to a prickly situation we all find ourselves in. We all commit sins (Romans 3:23). To salve the prickliness of our sins we have gotten into the habit of giving our sins other names. I will name just a few here.
How often do you hear of folks talking about their "bad habits?" Or when some say they can't help themselves, it's "just the way I am?" "If I think it, why not do it?" It's "an addiction." It's just "harmless recreation." "Well you know, boys will be boys." It's my "lifestyle." It's just "my personality." It's "my choice."
I have personally heard all of these words/names/excuses, given to sin in people's lives. I'm sure you have heard many as well. And we are all guilty, from time to time, of trying to name sin something other than sin in our own lives, or in the lives of others around us.
The "why" behind all of this name changing is different, I'm sure, for each person who falls into this pattern of renaming. The bottom line, though, for all of us, is we try to take the sting out of what we know is wrong. We try to legitimize sins in their many forms. We try to justify our wrong choices, decisions and behaviors. We are trying to play God. We are trying to tell God that we know better than God what are good behaviors and thought patterns and what are not.
Friends, sin by any other name smells just as wrong. You can call it whatever you wish, but it does not change the inherent nature of sin. Sin is sin. And the sooner we all face it, quit renaming it, confess it and repent of it, the better off we will all be.
God has inspired the writer to write in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now I don't know about you, but this makes me want to shout, "Hallelujah!" If I agree with God about my sin, call it what it is, not try to rename it; God will forgive that sin and cleanse me from all the ugly, dirty stuff in my life. That my friends, is the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Are you ready to quit trying to be God and let God be God in your life, let God show you mercy and grace? Sin will always be sin. Face it. Admit your sins. Let God take care of them for you, for in Christ Jesus, that is what God offers to each and every one of us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."
Let the old name changing ways be gone, let the New live in you. God's promise is that you will come out smelling like a rose.
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