Home > Christianity, Faith, God, Growth, Mental Health, religion, self help, Spirituality > Step AWAY from the labelmaker…

Step AWAY from the labelmaker…

I heard a funny story at church this weekend.  The pastor and his wife had their kids and grandkids over to celebrate her birthday.  One of the boys had to use the restroom so grandma offered to take him.  Apparently, unbeknownst to Grandma, the other grandson watched as she went and said, “Man, I love that old lady.”  Of course, everyone found that hilarious as I am sure you do too.  Even kids come up with labels.  They learn quickly to compartmentalize.  The older we get the more complex our categories.  We may even misappropriate our labels to accomodate stereotypical attitudes we observe or hold ourselves. 

Think of all the labels people use for each other:  skin color, ethnicity, profession, religion.  Are you a democrat or a republican?  Conservative or moderate?  Are you Catholic or Pentecostal?  A stay-at-home mom or a single mom?  Is he straight or gay?  She’s a workaholic.  He’s an addict.  I’m a graduate.  He looks like a bum.  She is so trashy.  I’m fat, she’s skinny.  He’s old. 

Not only do we label people, but we label ourselves.  But I recently thought to myself.  What if we were never meant to be labeled? Yes, we have roles.  Roles are different from labels.  Roles are assigned duties.  We either assign them to ourselves or we are assigned those roles.  But labels are descriptions that have little meaning.  Just because I have a label doesn’t mean my role in this life is set in stone.  Here’s the thing though: some labels we cling to.  We want to be known!  I’m not talkin’ famous, though that certainly can be on our minds.  I’m talkin’ we want to be the “go to guy”. The one who is proficient, known to get the job done.  We think, “What would they do without me?!” Y’all know someone like that?  Are you someone like that?  Do they have to break out the Crisco every time you enter a building, praying that your big head will grandiosly enter the building?  Someone should sit in the wait ready to fling some humble pie in your face.

  Some think that by claiming our hurts some how we know more about life than the next guy. Some of us want to wear the suffering label.  They walk contentedly in misery, wandering aimlessly, without a thought to those they hurt.  Perhaps you know someone who attempts to “help” others while continuing to drag everyone around them down, like a hollowed out jack-o-lantern after Halloween has passed.  Maybe he once gave light, but now is nothing more than a moldy, warped shell.  As if the hardships we endure somehow earn us a medal.  If that were so, there’s always gonna be someone who has more medals.  But guess what.  Christ didn’t wear a medal.  Though he is the King of Kings, no one gave him a gold crown.  They didn’t even give him a cardboard Burger King crown.  Instead they shoved wooden thorns into his scalp.  He was labeled a criminal.  He was friendless.  He bled.  He died.  Now tell me something-  Have you got it worse than that?  Well, you’re reading this so that clears up the question of life, though some of you walk around like death warmed over, with your faces sallow, hoping for pity or respect or some other manipulative excuse.

So many times throughout the Bible, people tried to come up with a label for God.  Majestic, Awesome, Holy, Redeemer, Mighty, Alpha, Omega.  Those are all roles that He plays.  They are good descriptions, but he is so much more than that.  When will we GET that?  Hey, I’m throwin’ myself in that question!  When will we understand that there is no label that fits God.  When Moses asked God what he should label him as, what was God’s response?  He said, “I AM.”  There is NO label that fits God.  Even after God told Moses what he should refer to him as men still felt they needed a label – the Great I AM.  God is not One to be labeled.  He plays many roles in our lives but mere words cannot possibly convey who He is.

Let’s step away from the label maker and model ourselves after the only One who could not, can not, and will not ever be labeled, I AM.


  1. Dan Hall
    November 24, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I would use the words “Jenn, very impressive”. Those words would not adequately describe my experience here. I have been in the same “Label Maker” environment with you and your family . . . I realized as I read the words you wrote, that I had never really met you. My loss. My lesson learned. You removed the labels I had placed on you. And, I like it.

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