Thursday, February 5, 2009

Labels

Everywhere we look there is a label. Labels on our food, clothing, and just about everything we buy. We also have labels for people. Some are very helpful, but others can create a stigma for the person labeled. Mister, Mrs., President, father, mother, sir and other labels like these are signs of respect, if not for the person, at least for the position he/she holds. Then there are labels that reflect our sin like murderer, thief, prostitute, and liar that are black blotches that take time and hard work to blot out. Labels tell a story about us, or do they?

As soon as we are born a label is placed on us. "It's a Boy!" or "It's a girl!" is the first label we wear. From that moment the labels come at us white/ black, cranky/peaceful, cute/not-so-cute, funny/serious, happy/angry. Some stick and others don't. We become a friend, fiance, spouse, widow. In school we can be gifted or slow, troublemaker or good kid, maybe even a Phd.

Labels can stick on us long after the reason for the label has been put behind us. Some people will not let the labels on others be removed. That is where I find a deep sadness, because I've been on both ends of that story. Neither side can find peace, understanding and hope for the future.

In my estimation labels should be positive if at all possible. I also believe that if we must name a person with a not so positive label, we should always be willing to look for the opportunity to drop that label. If the label is truly from the past then let us keep it there. Like our Moms' used to say, "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all."

The best thing about God is that He has no labels. (Neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female...) He also washes away those sin labels with the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and He has put them as far away as the east is from the west. WOW! The labels we see in scripture (children of God, apostles, prophets etc. ) are there for our benefit, not His! He sees us as we are. He calls us by name. Maybe all He sees is the love He has for us when He looks into our faces.

Love. Now that is a label I'd like to wear!
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