Cut the Labels

peopletaketime“People take time. But in our haste, we size them up or cut them down to what we take to be a more manageable size, labeling people instead of trying to hear, understand or welcome them.”

This statement by David Dark could not be truer. Because, the truth is, people take time. It takes time to get to know them. It takes time to understand them. It takes time to learn about their complexity and their story.

Yet, rather than taking the time, we find it easier to label others. Why? Because it’s faster. Labeling someone short-circuits the distance it takes to get to know them. It allows us to cut them down to a manageable size, and allows us to distance ourselves from them. Labeling allows us get out of the hard work of getting to know someone.

The problem is that labeling people, as a Christian, isn’t our calling. Our calling is to love others. And, to truly love people means pushing past labels and to get to know them.

I know I personally struggle with this. I know that, in my haste, I label people so that I don’t have to listen to people. I might say to myself, “Well they are just a “_____”, or “Of course they would argue that they are “_____”, or “Why listen to that [insert a group of people]?”

And, my point isn’t that labeling isn’t easy – or fast. My point is that it isn’t very Christ-like. Love requires getting to know people. Love requires some time. And, people require some time.

So, I write all this for one reason: the next time you are tempted to label someone, why not take the time to actually get to know them?

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