Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor. Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, “Do not fear; you will have this son also.” And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin” (Genesis 35:16-19).

Jacob knew first hand the weight of a parental curse. He was named Jacob, or “heel grabber”, or “trickster,” and he lived up to that name most of his life. He changed his youngest son’s name as soon as he discovered his dying wife had named him Ben-Oni, or “son of my sorrow.” We understand why he renamed the boy Benjamin or “son of my right hand”—a place of power and honor in ancient times. Jacob understood that whatever we call things, God honors the names we employ. Make sure you name people, situations, and events the right thing so they can be blessed and not cursed.

We are stewards of our identity. We can’t undo childhood trauma, and unfortunately, we mostly remember negative things which have happened to us. However, God has an answer. The blood, the cross of Christ, the word of God, and the Holy Spirit can enter into the pain of our lives and work to to undo the damage. As this happens, we can begin to understand that we don’t have to be who others say we are.