Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Those Ugly Labels - Martin Wiles

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 NLT
I took the label and went on my merry way.
Mid-term elections arrived. Although I don’t normally vote in them, I decided to vote this time. Several candidates were on the ballot who I wanted to cast my vote for. As I waited in line at my precinct, an older lady stood by to give to or paste on a sticker for those who voted.
My turn arrived, and I walked to the booth. After casting my ballot, I walked away. The elderly lady greeted me. I opened my coat, and she attached the sticker to my shirt. Then, I was off to work.
Later that day, a co-worker asked, “Did you take your grandchildren with you to vote?”
“No,” I said.
“I just wondered,” she said, “after what your sticker says.”
I looked at the sticker. It read, “Future Voter.”
I suppose everyone got the same label as I had. Maybe some of them were asked the same thing. How the mix up happened, I’m not sure, but I had been labeled something I wasn’t.
According to the gospel writer, anyone who trusts in Christ as their Savior is labeled a child of God. Welcomed into His family. No more an outcast … or an orphan. But a child, and a co-heir with Christ.
Labeling seems to be the human way. Divorced. Abused. Orphan. Homeless. Poor. Rich. Middle Class. Nice. Mean. Stuck up. Short. Fat. Blonde. The list is endless, and when we run out of labels, we invent more to fit the situation.
Labels aren’t necessarily bad … unless we develop stereotypes and then start treating people based on those stereotypes. This leads to unjust judging, which Jesus condemned. 
Child. Now, there’s a worthy label. I belong to someone—hopefully, parents who love me. And when we’re children of God, we don’t have to worry about the love, concern, and care. God loves His children, presently and eternally, and will give them all the essentials of a love relationship that they can’t find anywhere else. Further, He’ll provide all we need to accomplish His plan for us.
The old chant was wrong: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” They can, but only if we forget who we are in Christ.
When others label you unfairly, remember God’s label is the only one that counts.
Prayer: Father, when others label us with ugly labels, help us remember the label You give us: children.

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