We label people without even thinking about our words. “What an idiot. Why would anyone drive like that?” Or, “What a numbskull. No one hits a pitch aimed at their feet.” It seems harmless, until we recognize “that person” as someone we know. Then we apologize and add, “I didn’t really mean it.”
Assigning wrong names to people as a group, distances us from individuals. It lumps people into categories and stereotyping that are seldom accurate. It causes separation and draws line. Racism is fueled by such labeling. One day we will all stand before God and be accountable to every word we have spoken. God has created the exceptions to every group.
When we are labeled, it takes courage to respond well. The other person may never see the truth. Their words can not define us. In the end, it is God’s opinion of us that will matter. Keep His words about us as the ones that matter.
If we have labeled, people, we can repent. As a Cleansing Streams Homework assignment, I asked God if there was anyone I had labeled that I needed to repent over. I felt like heaven produced a computerized multi-page document. I had to call my brother and apologize for calling him a “dodo bird.” Even this little childish label needed clearing in the Heavenly Courtroom.
After repenting of everything I could remember I had said, I was far more careful about what I said going forward. Many times I learned people’s behavior was an extension of their upbringing or their training or their experience base. It wasn’t thought through. I try to ask God what the underlying root is to be upset with. It’s usually not the person. God asks us to have grace with one another and put on love. Love starts with seeing beyond the labels we put on people. Colossians 3:12 says, “Put on kindness.”