Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Labels – are You Wearing One?

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love you one another” John 13:34-35 NIV

I was recently listening to a pastor out of South Carolina who talked about the clothing labels we wear.  His point was that the labels we choose to wear say a lot about us.  There are many of us who will choose to wear a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, or wear Tom’s shoes.  In both cases we are making a statement.  In the first case we are saying “I enjoy the finer things in life.”  In the second case we are saying, “I want my purchases to not only meet my needs but also to help out someone who is less fortunate.”

This made me think, which is always painful and dangerous.  Surely labels must apply to more than just clothing.  If someone has a reputation and/or a characteristic behavior they might receive a label from people who know them.  “That person is a great encourager.”  “That person is not the sharpest tool in the shed.”  “That person always goes around with a frown on their face.”  We also have particular stereotypes which lend themselves to being a label.   When someone uses the term liberal or conservative a particular set of values flashes through our mind.  We may have a particular opinion about a certain Christian denomination, a specific political party or people who are conscientious recyclers.   I even know some football and hockey fans who have some rather unflattering labels for people who cheer for the other side.

Frankly if you are a Christian you should be wearing a label, the label that Jesus has asked us to wear.  We should be labeled as a follower of Jesus Christ not based on the clothes that we wear, or the political party we vote for or the team for which we cheer. It is our love for one another that should label us.

How do your family members label you when you are not present?  What about your friends?  Are you known as a person who is inviting and loving?  Are you known as a person who is filled with grace?  Are you an encourager?  Are the Fruit of the Spirit readily observable as you go about your daily routine?

When the final curtain is drawn the only label that is important is whether or not we are “a child of the living God.”

 

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree. Unfortunately, if you were to ask the average person what is the first thing that comes to their mind when they think of a Christian, they would probably say something like, "judgmental", "hypocritical", "rule-follower", "self-righteous", or "religious." I wonder how many of them would actually say, "loving." Which is probably why the church has lost so much of its relevance in society. Even worse, however, is that if you were to ask a husband/wife of a Christian how they would describe their spouse, the answers probably wouldn't change much.

    I wish I was the exception to the rule. But, if you were to ask those who know me (including my wife), I wonder how often they would use the word "loving". Candidly, I doubt it would be not near as often as I would like. So while it's easy for me to sit behind a computer screen and accuse the church and other Christians, deep down inside, I know that I'm still too big a part of the problem and too small a part of the solution. I'm working to change that. Thank goodness that we serve a God who loves us and doesn't give up (because I would probably have given up on me a long time ago)...

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