When I was a kid, I loved the little label gun my mom had. It had plastic tape you inserted in the gun, and then you typed the words you wanted to be printed. After that, you’d peel the back off the tape and stick it wherever needed.
Except, where’s the fun in only putting labels where needed? Childhood Dave wanted to label (and stick) every stinking thing in the house. “Table.” “Chair.” “Coffee pot.” “Grandpa.”
That last one didn’t go over so well.
Recently, I’ve learned that people still love to label others, like I did Grandpa. But they use their labels not to make it easier to recognize someone, but to shame and then dismiss them:
“Evangelical.” “Mask-wearer.” “Anti-vaxer.” “Right-wing.” “Socialist.”
Labels are lazy. They give us a pass not to consider someone’s argument seriously. Labels tell us to look past the person and see only the label that defines them.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The great and powerful Wizard of Oz has spoken!”
Those labels make you feel small and cheap. So a lot of us have learned we’d better keep our mouths shut or else. Say too much and people will “label” you. They throw shame like monkeys throwing excrement from their cages.
Except, they want you to think you’re the one in the cage.
Well, I’m done. Done hiding what I am and what I believe for fear someone else won’t like it and call me a bad person.
Here’s just a few of the labels that have been thrown at me from the monkeys:
- One person labeled me a “virtue signaler” for talking about our foster parenting and suggesting others should join us.
- I was labeled as having a “White savior complex” for daring to adopt racially-mixed children, and then “cancelled” all over social media for one long month for refusing to portray them as victims.
- I was labeled “right-wing” for only wearing a mask when required, and “liberal” for getting inoculated against Covid.
People will often try to tell you who you really are. But it’s your fault if you believe them. (Yet even with that statement, I can be labeled a “victim blamer” for implying you have responsibility for your own response. See how the game is played yet?)
Whatever you try to do, someone will have a label they hope will keep you from doing it successfully. Because everyone prefers dealing with a victim rather than an equal.
So what about you? What are the labels someone put on you?
Fill in your own blank here ____________.
Last time I checked, no man or woman can decide what you are or how much you’re worth. I serve a God who specialized in changing the labels given to people.
Jacob (“trickster”) was renamed Israel (“prince”). Simon became Peter. Saul transformed on a Damascus road into the Apostle Paul. You get the idea.
So, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the labels you’ve been wearing.
I hope you’ll take that stand. You see, I’ve learned from my own labels that if you accept them, you’ll soon start becoming exactly what they see in you. You’ll second-guess every truly good, virtuous thing you try to do. And you’ll spend your life apologizing for sins you never committed.
Sorry, I’m done hiding. God has the right to judge me, but not anyone just playing God. I do not accept their shame. I hope you won’t either.
But go ahead, let them give us their best shot. But they’ll have to get in line first.
I am who the “Great I AM” says I am. So that line forms behind him. He is the only true Label Maker.
Photo by Angèle Kamp on Unsplash
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