Label Me

Do you collect labels? Some companies offer some sort of refund or reward policy for returning their labels. I suppose it is a way for them to track sales and usage.

I collect labels, but I don’t collect them for any particular corporate demographic or marketing research. I collect labels because there are so many of them flying around out there.

Some of the labels I have collected over the years are: liberal, conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical, loser, Christian, nobody, freak, aloof, insensitive, punk; I could go on, but you probably get the idea.

Some of these labels I accepted, some I rebelled against. Some felt like they drew blood when I heard them. I suppose every one of them fit in one way or another.

Like all the various labels we put on one another, some of my labels say more about the person giving me the label than they do about me. Some of them mostly remind us what a disjointed society we live in, and how sad it is that even as adults we too easily resort to name-calling and label-hurling.

Here’s a different take on labeling for you. Back when God first called Abram (who was later renamed Abraham), God labeled ever person on earth. There were two kinds of people, God told Abe. God was calling Abram to be and to begin the family of God’s own people – special people identified by God for a very special purpose. So there were to be God’s people, and everyone else. Pretty simple labeling, huh?

Here’s the side we don’t often hear, though: The way God labeled all of us wasn’t “My People” and “everyone else.” God’s desire was that everyone become one of the people of God. The whole reason God declared Abram and his descendants to be God’s people was so that through them we ALL might become God’s people.

Try that label on everyone you meet this week!

6 thoughts on “Label Me

  1. We use labels, i.e., nouns, in our conversations every day. Which label (noun) do we use in any given situation? It depends on the context – what we’re trying to do or accomplish in that context.

  2. It’s sad how we’re so ingrained with winners and losers. We get so caught up in considering ourselves the winners when it comes to God that we don’t recognize the other “winners” and don’t make an effort to help the “losers” become winners too.

    Whenever I’m labeled a Nimrod, I take that to mean I’m a great hunter…

  3. I’m reminded of Max Lucado’s children’s book “You Are Special” all about labels and God’s value of us

  4. Push it back farther than Abraham! In Genesis 1 God created humanity (one lable) and then defined them as male and female (now two labels).

    Life differentiates. We then place labels to make sense of the things which are otherwise difficult to grasp. Not all of the labels are nice or comfortable. Many of them probably should never have existed.

    But they do.

  5. I’ve read this on a day when this very topic was raised, and heatedly, among friends who were discussing race in America. What finally stilled the debate and restored the equanimity was the comment of one friend who said much the same as you: The way God labeled all of us wasn’t “My People” and “everyone else.” God’s desire was that everyone become one of the people of God.
    I often say “I am you and you are me” as I pass by others throughout the course of my day. And it’s a generally responsive and loving world that I encounter.

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