"But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” - Luke 19:5
I’ll be the first to admit that remembering people’s names and details is hard for me. In fact, I hear this confession more and more these days. People will tell you upfront during an introduction “I’m really bad at names!”. It may be a gracious way to get out of forgetting, but it still screams “I’m not paying attention to what you’re saying.”
But, I’m discovering this to be more of an uncaring spirit than a memory problem. I know when I forget another person’s name or details of their life, it’s usually because I”m thinking about what I’m going to say next or I’m evaluating my response to this person. I have to force myself to focus on a person’s name, and there have been times when I’ve repeated the person’s name back to them within the conversation just for the sake of repetition.
This applies to details about the conversation, too. Remembering things like family members’ names, hobbies they have, or situations that are worrying or stressing them out are also big wins in connecting and caring for people. When you check up on a person after they’ve shared a hurt or worry, or if you call out their kids by name, it communicates your willingness to get to know them. That’s Care 101.
TRY IT: Make a point to learn and remember the names of two co-workers’ or church members’ kids’ names you don’t know.