I started this series and due to illness I disappeared for a week. Because of my disappearance I will be posting 2 posts daily for the upcoming week in order to catch up.
I have developed a dislike of labels. We use them every day in various ways and in many ways labels are helpful.
There are many ways though that labels are harmful especially when we use them with other people. When we use labels with each other, many times it seems like we use them to emphasize differences between us. A lot of times when labels are used they are used to judge and demean others.
When people don’t agree with our opinions, we label them, “Stupid” or “Foolish” or “Idiots.”
When a teenager makes a wrong decision, we label them, “A hoodlum” or worse.
When a person doesn’t understand something, we label them, “Retarded.”
When a person stands up for something that they believe in, we label them, “A fanatic.”
When a person disagrees with certain behaviors, we label them a “____phobe” or a hater.
When a person refuses to indulge in a certain behavior or behaviors, we label them a “goody-goody.”
And every time we label someone in such a way we are judging those people.
I think that we all need to learn that there is a difference between judging a person and judging that person’s behavior.
We can’t judge a person’s heart. We don’t know their stories. We haven’t walked the path that they are on. All we know is what their words and their behaviors tell us, but we don’t know what lies behind those words and behaviors.
As a preschool teacher, I saw this frequently in children who had behavioral issues. I would start in a new classroom, and I would be told that this child was a problem or that child was troublemaker. I would enter the classroom and start working with the children and realize that these children were troubled not troublemakers. They were in need of love and patience and sometimes therapy.
We can judge a behavior as right or wrong, but we can’t judge the person as good or bad and that is what we do when we label others.
We need to let go of judging others and start loving them. Loving them doesn’t mean that we accept and agree with everything that they say and do, but it does mean that we don’t define people by our differences. It means treating them the way that we want to be treated. It means treating them with respect and dignity.
When we let go of judging others, we can share God’s love with them. When we are able to share God’s love with them, then He can save them and begin changing them the way that He is changing you and me.
When we stop judging others and start loving them with God’s love, we are being Jesus for them.
When they see God’s love in us, then He can use that to draw them to Him.
We can’t change other people. We can’t save other people. Only Jesus can do that, but when we stop the judging them and start loving them, then He can use us to influence them and help them change.