The Power of Labels

There is tremendous power in labels. We often are tempted to look at our neighbor and within a few minutes come up with some label about such a person. There is nothing wrong with labels. They can be used wisely. They can help identify certain people. It can help us minister to some in wiser ways. But our tendency is to label people too quickly. The How and When of labeling is a very important tool in our day-to-day interactions. Label sometimes becomes a cheap substitute for loving.

In labeling, timeliness is everything. When we label others we view all their actions through them. And if we have the tendency to belittle others our labels will often not be a very attractive portrait of certain individuals.

The Pharisees in the Bible were quick to label things as authentically Jewish or not. Though Jesus had a few labels of his own for the Pharisees, his primary concern was not so much in what category certain people fell under, His concern was in connecting with these people no matter their economic or social status.

Here is an important lesson for us: Do not label too quickly. Be slow to assume and quick to learn.

God labels us as “children” and “saints.” When Adam’s fall had labeled us forever as “sinners,” God did not cease to meet with us, but He sent His Son to speak to us and to give His life.

There is tremendous power in labels. Be slow to assess. Be gracious in your assessment, for in the manner you label so will others do unto you.

We worship as those marked by the gracious imprint of God. We should be grateful that God did not label us according to what He saw, but that He sought us and called us into His presence.

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