We all do it! Every single one of us at one point or another decided that we had the right to put a label on someone else. For whatever reason we begin to decide that we are better then whoever we decided to label. I became painfully aware of this reality a few weeks ago.
Curtis & I had decided to take two of the boys from Contact to the Union/Jenks game. They were incredibly excited. The 7 year old wanted five dollars to give his friend for her birthday party the next day. I made a deal with him that if he was good at the game & didn't beg for anything I would pay him five dollars. He was wonderful at the game! We had a blast. So the next day I kept my word & took him with me to the bank so that I could pull cash out. On the way there this conversation took place..
I replied, "Yes He is baby! We just have to keep loving Him!"
He started to cry & replied, "He's gonna get me too because I am good. I'm not a bad kid Miss Kayla! I'm not! I only steal when I don't have any food. Will you please tell my mom I got money for being good? She thinks I'm bad all the time."
Hearing this little boy so torn up about being a "bad" kid ripped my heart out. He is right! He isn't a bad kid, but he has been labeled as such. He was labeled by his mom, by his teachers, principals, people at church, etc. I too have been guilty of labeling the kids. Even though I never speak it to them I still mentally label them & I am just as guilty for the destruction that labels cause.
Another time in which I saw the pain that comes from labeling was when Ron & I did a Bible study with one of the families. We walked into this home with a preconceived idea. We know the Mom of these children is a lesbian & her girlfriend lives in their apartment. Her son struggles greatly because of her sexual choice. However, before labeling her none of us had taken the time to ask her why? Or how we could help her get out of her sin.
That day Ron asked her two questions. "Where are you from?" "And what is the worst thing that has ever happened to you." She was from St. Louis. From what I have been told St. Louis is a nasty place! There are parts of town that you shouldn't even go to during the day. She went on to say she had been sexually abused from the time she was two years old on by every man in her family.. Grandpa, Dad, Uncle, brothers, & the list continued.
For the first time in my life my heart broke for someone who is completely wrapped up in homosexuality. Why would she want anything to do with a man? Throughout her life men have caused her nothing but unbearable pain. Does this make what she is doing acceptable? Absolutely not! It is wrong.. it is sin. But does she deserve to be labeled any more for her sin then I do? No she doesn't! We can call it a lifestyle of sin to justify our label placement or we can look square in the mirror & remind ourselves that we too live in a lifestyle of sin.
As I've read the Gospels over & over never once have I seen Jesus give anyone a LABEL. HE is the only one to ever walk this earth that had the power & the right to condemn. However, time after time HE met sinners with grace. The only label Jesus ever placed on a sinner was "YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR!" HE did not judge, or label, or condemn. HE climbed down in the trenches & HE TOUCHED! We are called to be the hands & feet of Jesus Christ through His spirit... Nothing less! I am by no means suggesting that sin is of no importance anymore. It is of the utmost importance. We have violated the heart of God & nothing we ever do will change that. Sin is still just as wrong today as it was 2,000 years ago. Speak truth. Push people to be who God called them to be, BUT let GOD handle the judgment. And never forget that the only label we can Biblically give to anyone is "YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR" Speak that over every single person you touch every day & speak it to yourself when you look in the mirror... "YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR!"
Philippians 3:12-14 "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers & sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind & straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."