No More Labels

Labels. They are a funny thing. They help us define things. They provide us direction. How would I know water from sprite from rubbing alcohol? How would I know milk from glue from cream? How would I know cotton from polyester? (Okay maybe that is not a good example?)

Sometimes…sometimes…labels are good.

Other times labels are bad. Why must the media report that the man pulled over was black? Why must she be labeled straight, gay, bi, etc? I am a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Socialist. Why do we used these labels to identify who we are? What we believe? How we feel?

Is it because we’ve been scripted from birth to do so? Why does it matter who a person loves? Seeing that we are all called to love — why do we place limits on it? Read this as Jussie Smolett makes a great point on this issue.

I don’t believe that we were created to hate. I believe that we were created only to love. Love is the root of the happiest of times and of wars. Love, or lack of love — but love is the root of everything.*

What happen if we focused instead on these things:

Patience with each other
Kindness toward one another
Gentleness in how we handled each other
Not comparing ourselves to one another
Refusing to be right all the time
What difference does it matter if they are wrong? 
Keeping hope alive?

Do labels make us comfortable? Are we afraid of what would happen if we didn’t use them?

I’d challenge you, if you’ve made it this far, to take 30 days and attempt to remove any language or thoughts you have as it relates to these labels. What would happen if the media stopped reporting racial ethnicity in reporting? What would happen if we no longer focused on what other people did in the privacy of their bedroom and instead treated them as people? What would happen if we listened to others viewpoints without considering what party they were affiliated with?

I recently heard a talk given by Andy Stanley, pastor at North Point Community in Atlanta, who said — People First. Politics Second. He challenged the attendees to respond in these four ways when discussing political issues with others:

  • What led you to hold that view?
  • Have you always held this view?
  • Have you met him? her? Oh?! (when topics are concerning a particular candidate or politician)
  • I get most of my information from the media. How about you? (when the topic turn to facts or hearsay)

I believe if we were to remain emphatic when we communicate with each other. If we seek first to understand before being understood, I honestly believe our world would be a much better place.

I will make a go for the next 30 days and beyond, to remove labels from my description of people to see, just see, what kind of impact it will make. Will you join me? Agree or Disagree?

** Article provided by Caitlyn Marie

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