3/29/16: Identity

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In an attempt to teach my students a grammatical point, I wrote a poem entitled “That vs. Who.” In it, I discuss in a humorous way that the proper pronoun to use when referring to people is “who,” and use “that” when referring to animals and all non-living things. A couple of stanzas from the poem read thusly:

To be a “that” is very bad, Your personhood is gone.

To be a “that’s” a problem, And someone must right this wrong

When you speak of someone In a sentence, keep in view;

A person never is a “that”. A person is a “who”.

In addition to the grammar lesson, I believe my poem also makes a point about the importance of identity. There’s comfort in knowing who we are. Our perception of our identity is the basis for our reason for operating in the world as we do. Important people act important; influential people exert influence. Conversely, those who feel invisible slink to the background and act as if no one cares. Our true identity speaks in the way we carry ourselves.

When it mattered most, Jesus allowed his identity to speak for Him. During the illegal trials that led to His conviction and death sentence, Jesus was asked point blank to identify Himself. In Mark 14:61 – 62 (NKJ) we read, “…Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am…’” Then in front of Pilate, we see His assertion again. “Then Pilate asked Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ And He answered and said to him, ‘It is as you say’” Mark 15:2 (NKJ). His declaration to the high priest got Him condemned by the religious leaders; His acknowledgment to Pilate got Him condemned by the political leader. Jesus was who He said He was, and the subsequent actions of dying and resurrecting proved His true identity.

Let’s remember the words of Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed are you when {men} cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (NAS). What are our actions saying about our identity? Are others watching and listening to us and then asking, “So that’s a Christian?” or are they proclaiming, “So that’s a Christian.”

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

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~ by sanewriter on March 29, 2016.

2 Responses to “3/29/16: Identity”

  1. So is Horton the elephant a that or a who? And if he is a who then what shall we do? For if he’s a who to whom does he listen too?

    • Great question. Horton has the amazing distinction of being both a that and a who! And Horton has learned to listen to the voices of those in need — as should we!

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