Do you have a nickname? At some point in their lives most people get some kind of a nickname. Sometimes this comes from schoolmates, friends, coworkers, or from family. Nicknames are common in my family. My little brother John became Jack, an Irish tradition for the name John that goes back centuries. My brother Kevin became known as “KG,” a byproduct of his initials, and then even that was eventually shortened to “Cage.” I myself have had quite a few nicknames; my first was the result of my dad and I sharing the same name, so to avoid confusion my family always referred to me by my middle name. Even my sister Teresa is now affectionately referred to in our family as “Teesee,” and whenever she steps over my threshold the kids all run to hug her as they yell, “Aunt Teesee,” which always causes a huge smile to radiate from her face.

Nickname can be good or bad

There are times when nicknames can be mean, intended to ridicule or demean a person. Sometimes schoolkids pick on one another with derogatory names such as “bean-pole,” “fatso,” or the poor child who wears glasses and is called “four-eyes.” Plenty of little red haired freckled boys have been labeled “Rusty.” Nicknames can also demonstrate a more personal and deeper relationship between people, such as that special name someone has that is only known to a select few, or as is often the case, between couples. I may call my wife “honey-babe” but she would die if anyone else did.

Nicknames are popular in most cultures

Nicknames appear in many cultures throughout the world and they have been around for thousands of years. There are even reports that it was an honor in the Nordic Viking world to have a nickname, or that slaves used them among themselves so others would not know who they were referring to. The Bible also speaks of a person’s name being changed. Sometimes this was the result of a person moving from one culture to another, such as in the case of when Joseph went to Egypt and acquired the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-Paneah; Hadassah became Esther; Daniel became Belteshazzar, etc.

Nicknames can change your identity

At other times God changed the name of a person to indicate He wanted them to have a new identity and a new role. This is the case for Abram who became Abraham, meaning “high father” or “father of many,” and Sarai who became Sarah, meaning “my princess” or “mother of nations. “These were special names, almost like a special nickname that God Himself had given them.

We will have a special name known only to the Lord and God

In much the same way, Jesus has a new name, a name that God has given to him and which is only known between him and God (Rev. 19:12). Like Jesus, each of us, all who accept him as their Lord and Savior, will be given a new name that is known only to us and Him (Rev. 2:17). A nickname, that special term of endearment that will be between just you and your Lord!