On Preferred Names…

Will I call someone by their preferred name, chosen to reflect a desired change in gender?


Briefly, absolutely not.

Does this mean the relationship may end? Yes.

Does this mean the decision to refuse may be limiting financially, professionally, and socially? Yes.

Am I willing to trust the Lord with those consequences? Absolutely.


And here is why. Naomi. Not Judd. The Ephrathite.


In the Book of Ruth, Naomi upon losing her husband and both sons, returns to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth. When they arrived the people of the city asked, “Is this Naomi?” To which she replied, “Do not call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has dealt quite bitterly with me…Why call me Naomi? The Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me.”


Naomi is broken. Her circumstances seem unfair. The Lord seems to have dealt bitterly with her.

Based on her feelings, she has chosen to change her name.

Based on her new identity, she has chosen to change her name.

Based on her circumstances, she has chosen to change her name.

She would prefer to never hear Naomi again, because it no longer fits how she sees herself.

She would like to change her name to Mara, meaning bitter.



Except that not one other time in Ruth or in all of Scripture is Naomi called anything other than…Naomi.

No one honors her wish for a new name. No one ever calls her Mara.

Not the Lord. Not Ruth. Not Boaz.  Not Samuel, the author of Ruth.


Why? Because how she sees herself is secondary to how God sees her.


In fact, other than her little pity party plea, the name change is not given another word or sentence. It is not even addressed again.


God has bigger plans. Like redemption. Like drawing forth the Christ from the ashes of loss and pain.


What does this tell you?

Man’s need for salvation trumps man’s (or woman’s) want of identification.

The desired name? It’s not even secondary to what is unfolding.


God knows feelings are fleeting, circumstances change, and bitter seasons end.

God also has ultimate sovereignty and authority over our identity and purpose. He changes the names of those He wants—to give new identity and purpose to. And He ignores the name changes of others… because their identity in His eyes did not change.


I have not been called to entertain the fancies or feelings of others. God has not modeled it or commanded it.

He has however, modeled and commanded us to walk in truth, to yield our wants to His will, and to align our desires with His own.

Call it whatever you want. He calls it THE WAY.


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