I Don’t Like Labels

I Don’t Like Labels

Labels are for filing

Labels are for clothing

Labels are for jars

LABELS ARE NOT FOR PEOPLE!

At any given time you can go to any bookstore and pick up a book on any wide variety of subjects that label people and put them into categories that are convenient for us to define them as being different than “us”.

When we as believers label others who are different than what we perceive to be the norm, we are alienating them and inn essence taking the place of God the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is but another reason why many in the secular world are put off by the Gospel and will have nothing to do with Christianity.

The word of God is direct and straight forth in its direction to believers. We are to help and care for those who are different than us. We are to love them with the love of Christ. We are never to judge them, alienate them, or label them. When we put a label on someone, be they the saved or unsaved we are placing a wedge between us and them. When we labels those that are different than us for lack of a better explanation, we limit the ability of God to work in us a His representatives to the world. We are to be salt and light to the world. We are to be led by the Holy Spirit who in turn draws all unto Christ that redemption might have its way in their hearts.

Man had derived many formulas and test to put labels on individuals so that we, who see ourselves as “different” from them, can learn how to interact with them.

I hate labels.

Labels are not who we are!

Many of us use labels because we lack the spiritual and intellectual ability to care enough to be led by the Lord to love enough to try and understand the complexities of our fellow man.

We as believers use labels to categorize other believers to see if they meet our standard of who we think “we are” in Christ, and who we think they should be in Christ.

And when it comes to labels we don’t have to affix labels to ourselves to let everyone know who we are.

Many of us in Christ tend to label ourselves as spirit-filled, a fundamentalist, a King James only person, a traditional, a contemporary, an evangelical, a legalist, liberal, conservative -etc., but we  do not have to label ourselves as such. If you really are who you want to label yourself as, everyone will know, as the Spirit of God in you will bear witness.

Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

We are the redeemed of the Lord and as such, the only label we such attach to ourselves is the label of “redeemed”. Everything in us, is of Christ, and everything that we are, is of Christ. As Paul stated it is not I but Christ who lives in me.

We have gotten into the ugly habit in the last century of creating labels and affixing them to people to put them into little boxes that separate them from us and many times negates the need for us to reach outside our comfort zone as an instrument of God to reach someone who is hurting and in need.

We can say, he is a drunk, a drug-user, she is a prostitute, an adulterer, a narcissist, a hypocrite etc., the list can go on and on. We use labels as smear words instead of pleading the blood over the lives over individuals.

We can instead use positive epithets to release the power of God to work and heal lives

Instead of saying they are such a failure- We can proclaim in Christ that they can overcome. Though the conflict in their life may be hard, and they be cast down, the Lord will rise up for them to overcome. Our faith in Christ, the source of victory, may we be used as the instrument in Christ to help them overcome.

1 John 5:4 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Instead of saying that person is unfriendly, mean and a loser with no friends, we can share that our Lord Jesus never will forsake His children who trust in and love him. He love all His own which were in the world. He loved us all, even unto death upon the cross. He is a friend indeed.

Proverbs 18:24 You are a friend who sticks closer to me than a brother.

There are those among us with failed relationship, broken hearts and marriages that sometimes find themselves broken and lonely. Instead of saying that they deserve to be alone, because they were unfaithful or abusive, we can bless them with the comfort Christ offers. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the promises; to I will never, no, never leave thee, no, never forsake thee. In the original there are no less than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise to those who are washed in the Blood of the Lamb have the gracious assurance of the presence of God with us, in life, at death, and forever more. That is a comfort that many a broken heart needs to hear.

Psalm 119:76 May your unfailing love be my comfort.

When using terminology to describe someone we are to use the examples given in God’s word to affix to them.

Man uses negative connotation almost always when attaching labels to someone, whereas God uses positive epithets to describe His children. Let us take the example of King David.

We all know that David committed adultery, and murder, as his list of sins is quite lengthy. Today’s society would label him as an adulterer, a murderer, possibly a narcissist, egomaniac, etc. But God takes a different view of His child.

Sweet Psalmist of Israel (2 Sam. 23:1)

These are the last words of David: “David, the son of Jesse, speaks–David, the man who was raised up so high, David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, David, the sweet psalmist of Israel.

Here we see David, as a worshiper, the sweet psalmist, anointed of God, and raised up by God.

A man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).

The LORD has sought out for Himself David, a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people.

This here is the epithet for which David is most remembered.  He was called a man after God’s own heart because of his faithfulness, devotion and his broken spirit toward God in the repentance for his sins.

God attaches to us epithets of blessings not labels of shame.  He calls us

His child. John1:1

 His friend. John 15:15

 His heir. Romans 8:17

 His new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

His righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21

His chosen, being holy, and blameless. Ephesians 1:4

His redeemed and forgiven. Ephesians 1:7

His member of Christ’s body and a partakers of His promise. Ephesians 3:6, 5:30

His overcomers . 1 John 5:4.

His chosen. 1 Thessalonians 1:14.

I hate labels, ESPECIALLY in the body of Christ.  We as human seem to like labels as we are constantly inventing new ones every day, and I am not sure how much good if any they do us. One thing attaching labels does do is creates a “ME” vs.  “THEM” mentality.

People will always look to label; but the great thing about those labels is that they can be peeled off. And God is the one that will peel them off. Labels are placed on others mostly by those with uneducated affirmation, ignorant accusations, and by narrow minded critics.

We need to stop worrying about attaching labels and start letting Jesus fix people’s lives as we open our hearts and minds and become instruments of His mercy. We need to let the love of Christ in us work through us to start and transforming the lives of those around us.

God shows us in

Isaiah 58:6-7

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:  to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.

What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.

Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage.

Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.

The only “label” that matters is the label that God defines us by, and that is the only one that matters in eternity, and that is the label of REDEEMED.

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Categories: Body of Christ, Comfort, Friends, God, Love, Relationship, Service

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Thank you Darrell, good read and message.

    • The sin was that of an unnamed Christian in Corinth. Apparently, someone was having an on-going sexual relationship (either as married or living together) with his stepmother (his father’s wife). The woman involved must not be a Christian, for she isn’t even addressed. Clearly, this was Paul’s solution to the problem – to take this notoriously unrepentant man away from the protection of the fellowship of God’s people. Yet, the Corinthian Christians were not doing this. How could this kind of thing be allowed within the body of Christ?
      More than anything, the Corinthian Christians were probably allowing this in the name of “tolerance.” They probably were saying to themselves, “Look how loving we are. We are accepting this brother just as he is. Look how open-minded we are!” We should never underestimate what people will allow in the church in the name of “open-mindedness.”
      The Corinthian Christians were proud (you are puffed up Paul states) of their acceptance of this man; they thought it said something good about them! But instead of glorying, they should have been grieving, both for the man and for what they must do to him.
      Paul’s command would also serve the important purpose of remove any false feeling of security the sinning man might have among the fellowship of Christians. They couldn’t just ignore his sin, and let him ignore it, pretending it wasn’t there. If the man refused to face his sin, the church must face it for him, for his sake and for their sake.
      We as Christians must be careful to label those outside the body of Christ as all men are but sinners without grace. This was a situation within the church, within the body of Christ, and it had to be addressed as such.
      The goal of the discipline is clear: the salvation, not the destruction, of his spirit. Though this man’s conduct was clearly sinful, and needed severe correction, Paul does not write him off as forever lost – the effective use of church discipline may yet see him to salvation.
      All discipline in the church is to be carried out in this attitude of restoration, not condemnation. As Paul also wrote, And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15)
      We must remember both reasons why it was important to deal with this sinning man among the Corinthian Christians: not only for the sake of purity in the church, but also for the man’s own salvation (1 Corinthians 5:5).

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