Monday, March 14, 2011

That Label Doesn't Belong Here




I hate going to WalMart. Usually trips to WalMart are laced with profanity because the whole place just annoys me to no end. Unfortunately, I have to weigh my distaste for WalMart against driving an extra 30 minutes both ways to go shopping where I prefer and sadly, the convenience of the Super Center usually trumps my desire to drive an hour out of my way.

One way that I make these trips marginally less annoying is to participate in a meme with my daughter and Rich. We look for things labeled "Harvest ________" that have no business being labeled harvest. I found a harvest label on a carton of cheese puffs. Rich found "Harvest Chocolate Pretzels." And Deborah found a candle scent that was "Harvest Sugar Cookie." Seriously, if you know a place where I can go harvest sugar cookies, hook me up. I would like to go there.

In this case, the wrong label is entertaining. It's supremely stupid to associate chocolate pretzels in any way with a harvest, but it certainly isn't harmful. The chocolate pretzels don't really have anything invested in having harvest attached to their description or not.

This doesn't work quite the same with people. Okay, so I'm probably not going to call Jason my harvest husband (though that might be fun and confuse him for a while, especially in his sleep-deprived state!), but we do tend to attach labels to people that might not really be accurate. Sometimes they're labels that are given just because it's easier to label someone than to get to know them. The fat chick. The black guy. The gay kid. Maybe they're not technically wrong, but they're dehumanizing because we're a lot more than our weight or our race or our sexual orientation.

But sometimes out of those labels come things that are damaging and hurtful. We see ourselves in ways that reflect what we think others see rather than what we are. We pick labels that aren't accurate and use those. And when we do, others tend to follow suit. 



...we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20, The Message)
We've been made new. We don't have to wear those wrong labels.

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Where do most of your negative labels come from? What is a true label that you can give yourself today?



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