I’ve always had an aversion to labels. Perhaps it was because I’ve been labeled a few times. I was the short, brainy girl who couldn’t throw a ball or run. Seems ridiculous now, but those labels hurt during my growing-up years when it seemed better to be tall and athletic. The thing about labels is that we get stuck with one or two, and I find human beings much more complex, interesting and complicated than can be described in one or two words.
In the midst of board meeting a while back, a number of us shared a light moment in the hallway during a break. Light moments and laughter are greatly appreciated after hours of sitting around a table pouring over business. One of our younger board members, seeking some advice, described a situation in his work to a small group of us. The oldest and perhaps the wisest sage in the group interrupted the conversation and said, “Look here, let me tell you, brother, you’re taking this much too seriously. Dumb people are just going to say dumb things, and smart people are going to say smart things. So why worry about this so much?” We all chuckled because there is truth in this statement. But after pondering it a while, I realized it’s not the whole truth.
Smart people also say dumb things, and dumb people can say profound things. I do not consider myself in the league of scientists or neurosurgeons, but I am somewhat educated and fairly well-read, so I don’t like to put myself in the latter category either. However, I am fully capable and reasonably experienced in saying and doing dumb things. I learned just a few weeks ago that no matter how long I stand at my front door holding my key chain and pressing the button that unlocks my car, the front door to our house will not open until I put the house key in the dead bolt lock. What was really amazing is how long I stood there frustrated and how many times I mashed that button on my key chain before I figured it out. Was I dumb, ditzy, distracted or detached? Who knows?
Labels??? You know some of them like smart, dumb, energetic, lazy, kind, mean, rich, poor, skinny, xxx (I’m not going to write the word that follows “skinny.”) I’m so grateful our Father doesn’t use labels. I think He looks at me as a child who sometimes is obedient, sometimes not; sometimes smart, sometimes dumb; sometimes kind, sometimes selfish. You get the picture. The only label He stamps on me is “My Child.”
And by the way, just a reminder, the button that gets you into your car won’t get you into God’s front door either.
Image: CC Flickr clotho98