And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it (Revelation 2:17 NLT).
There are still places in the world where race, caste, or gender puts a person in jeopardy from the moment of birth. The problem is so acute in some parts of India that the district of Satara recently took action.
In poor, rural areas of India, girls can be considered a family liability. Boys are viewed as potential heirs, family heads, and wage-earners. By contrast, girls are a "liability" because their families will have to provide a dowry in order to arrange a marriage for them. Boys are so greatly preferred over girls that India made the use of ultrasounds to discover an unborn child's gender illegal.
Females were being systematically aborted — or murdered after being born. The Lancet medical journal has published a study that suggests as many as half a million females in utero are aborted every year in India.
In the Marathi language of western Maharashtra state, many of the girls who were allowed to live have been named "Nakusa." The name means "unwanted."
Can you imagine a four-year-old who answers to the name Unwanted? Can you fathom the negative self-image fostered in a child by that age? What about that child as a 10-year-old? Is she subjected to taunts from children with "real" names? Is she marriageable to a "respectable" family with the name Unwanted? Does she want to have a daughter and risk the name being carried forward?
"The Times of India" recently carried the story of a 13-year-old named Nakusa Chavin. "Once she asked me why I didn't kill her when she was born," said her mother. "Why did we let her live when we didn't want her?" How many daughters have asked that same question of their parents!
This heart-rending information has been in news media around the world over the past few days because of a progressive initiative in Satara state to allow girls named Nakusa to change their names. Those who choose a name change will have all official documents and school records changed. Is the harm already done too great? Can the change of name signal the start of a new life — within a culture that insists on remembering the old name? Time will tell.
If someone has dared to label you worthless or stupid or unloved, hear this word from God to people who had suffered countless indignities:
You shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give ... You shall no more be called Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married, for the Lord delights in you ... And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you (Isaiah 62:2-4 EST).
You are Loved, Precious, and Wanted.
Your new name is a gift that is not to be taken lightly. Wear it with dignity.