Definer or Defier
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16
We label other people. We’ve all done it. Maybe it’s based on personality, appearance, capabilities, nationality or something else. We seem to like to fit people into neat categories. But labelling others causes division not unity. Exclusion not inclusion. Prejudice not love. Them and us. We see the label, not the person, making it easier for us to ignore and exclude them. This is definitely not the message that Jesus brought to the world. He demonstrated unity, inclusion and love, and He calls us to show the same. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, He defied the labels, stereotypes, and rules that society had defined. We see in John 4 how the encounter unfolded. Jesus asked the woman for a drink and she replied with ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (v. 9). Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other, this woman had been divorced five times and was a Gentile. So Jesus talking to this woman would’ve been shocking. But He looked beyond the labels that society had put into place. So where we see people being labelled and excluded, let’s follow His example and make sure we’re being inclusive and loving towards them. We also need to avoid labelling people ourselves. Labels not only divide, they can also prevent people living the way God wants them to. When someone’s told they’re not good enough, ugly, a failure – they can start to believe it and act like the label is true, rather than basing their identity on what God says about them. Breaking labels can be really hard, so let’s be careful with what we’re speaking over people. And let’s work towards unity, inclusion and love. Just as Jesus did.
Heavenly Father, help me to be one that includes and not excludes others and see’s people as You see them – Your Children loved by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen