Everywhere we look we are surrounded by labels. From the tags in our clothing to periods in history, we have relied on labels to give us information and to help us remember. My Type A personality loves labeling things as a means of organization and to add perceived order to the chaos of life.
Unfortunately, we rarely reserve labels for “things” in life. Consciously or not, we assign labels to people as well. Some of those labels are reflective of appearance or station in life. I remember the first time someone called me “ma’am”. I immediately felt as though I had aged twenty years.
I have been labeled as many things: wife, mom, teacher, and friend. The label I bear most proudly is that of “Christian”. Peter said it best when he wrote in 1 Peter 4:16 “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
But what are we doing to the name of Christ?
I realize the tremendous impact I have as a disciple of Christ. My life is no longer my own, for I was purchased at a price ― redeemed by the blood of Christ. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Are we doing that?
Somehow, through the course of recent history, the word “Christian” has become synonymous with hate, intolerance and fear-mongering. The burden of that label weighs heavily on my heart.
God’s word tells us…
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
I believe the majority of Christians are not filled with hate but the love of Christ. Why are we allowing the loudest voices to silence what we know as truth?
God doesn’t hate anyone.
It doesn’t matter what label you have had assigned to you or what label you have assigned to yourself.
God. Hates. Sin.
As believers, we know that sin is anything that we say, think, or do that does not bring glory to God. We bear the great responsibility to love. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. And we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-39) God loves us and He has commanded us to do the same. 1 John 4:11 states it very clearly. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
So, who then should we love?
Think of any possible label you could assign to any person. Even the… Yep, even them!
We are called to love because He first loved us.
Do we do that well?
A quick glance at social media is very telling. How are we responding to the things we see? Are we behaving as those set apart who are called to bring the message of hope? Or do we contribute to the banter that further divides? I pray that we can become a people who are united by the love of Christ.
Carlyn Brown lives in Falling Waters, WV, with her husband of 14 years, Mike and her two daughters. Coming to Christ as a young adult has made her passionate for God’s word and for her daughters to grow up knowing Him. As a homeschooling mom, there isn’t much down time. But when there is, you can find her enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book, or a medical/crime drama TV show. Carlyn also loves to draw and write and knows that God has given her those talents to use for His glory.