I thought she was a snob.
She came every Sunday morning to pick up her children from the nursery where I volunteered. She never smiled at me. She barely acknowledged me. For over a year.
I don’t know why she felt like she didn’t need to be friendly. What I do know is that over time, my heart became indifferent toward her. I couldn’t believe the daughter of a prominent church family could be so rude. So I labeled her: Snob.
Then, ten years later, I saw another side of her. I discovered a woman with a deep love for the Lord who spent much time in the Word and in prayer, a leader who worked hard to set up women’s events and share the love of Christ.
And I realized my label had been entirely wrong.
Women are labelers. After observing a few attitudes and behaviors, we decide who a person is, or who she isn’t.
We decide when other women are insecure, immodest, immature, or immoral. We decide when they are weak parents, selfish gold diggers, sleazy home-wreckers, or terrible housekeepers. Fashion deficient, disorganized, arrogant, always late – the list goes on.
Ladies, we have to stop labeling each other if we want to be Christlike.
So what’s the bid deal? Why does it matter if we have opinions about each other?
We must understand:
1) Labels are born from a measure of truth. We get tripped up because it feels like we’re making the right decision. We know what we saw, what we heard, what we felt. But what we forget is that we’re all a work in progress, and we’re supposed to give each other grace.
2) Labels are negative and always do harm. They leave us feeling superior to the other person (pride), or feeling bad about ourselves (unworthy) – neither of which pleases God. Love is not proud, does no harm, and keeps no record of wrongs, right? (1 Corinthians 13).
3) Labels promote division rather than unity. When we see something we don’t like in people, it turns us off. We often avoid them. If we have to be around them, we never go beyond surface conversation. Or worse, we tell others about their bad qualities. We seem to forget that love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4)
4) Labels don’t tell the whole truth about a person. We get too focused on the areas in others that we don’t like. Those things don’t define God’s daughters. We’re called to be loving & accepting of everyone, to believe the best. (Colossians 3)
5) Labels are really judgements we place on other people. We don’t like to use that word because it sounds so ugly, but we judge people every day. It’s just a matter of whether we see them through the lens of our own humanness, or through the eyes of a loving God.(Luke 6)
So lets create a new habit! When somone behaves in ways that we feel are contrary to the Word of God, rather than becoming offended, let’s remind ourselves she is a ‘Work-In-Progress’ and walk away trusting that God’s got the situation under control.