Speaking Of Life 4018 | Labels
Have you ever gone into a pantry and found a can of food without a label on it? The only way for you to figure out what’s inside is by opening the can. After opening the unlabeled item, what is the likelihood that the reality would actually meet your expectations? Probably, pretty slim.
This is why labels are so important at a grocery store. They can give us a glimpse of what to expect on the inside. Oftentimes, the label will even include a picture of the product inside to add that extra level of confidence that what you are getting is what was being advertised.
Labels are vital to a grocery store’s business, but when it comes to human beings, labels can be incorrect and downright damaging. Have you ever heard someone remark, “He’s the forgetful one,” “She’s the slow learner,” or “He’s the problem child.”?
Sometimes we can be quick to label someone without having much knowledge of who they really are. Maybe we just saw the color of their skin, or their political bumper sticker, or something else that triggered a judgmental reaction.
Several years ago, I remember reading how our brains are wired to make those kinds of snap judgments as a means of self-protection and decision-making. I don’t remember the source, but I found it fascinating. It may be true, but what I do know is those snap judgments raise a huge red flag for interpersonal relationships – especially if we don’t monitor our biases.
In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, he addressed a similar situation that was taking place among them and gave us a different perspective.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5: 16-17
The church in Corinth may have been a diverse congregation but accepting and receiving one another as equals were in short supply. They were still employing a worldly point of view by placing discriminatory labels on each other. And because of this, you had people that were separating themselves into their own groups according to their own biases, be it their race, wealth, statuses, or culture. Their judgmentalism was not only disrupting their fellowship, but it was also a bad witness to those outside the church.
What the church in Corinth failed to recognize is that through Christ we receive our true identity, and all other labels, whether to race, social status, or political ideology, pale in comparison. We haven’t had something merely added to us or even just an upgrade to a 2.0 version of ourselves. Our true identity, in Christ, brings us into wholeness and is the fullness of who we are. It is not merely a picture but the substance of who we are. We are the blessed, free, and highly favored children of God. It is the truth of who we are, something we never have to question. And that is how we are to see each other.
What label will you choose to wear? Will you consign yourself to what the world has to say about you, or will you agree with the only assessment about you that reveals the whole truth about who you are? The label of being a new creation in Christ Jesus and accepted by The Father. That’s a label that cannot fall off.
I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life.