We had a conversation around the breakfast table this morning, my boys and me. In response to reading a devotion together, one of the boys talked about how all the popular kids were having sex (this is junior high, mind you), and doing drugs, and drinking.
I asked him if he liked it when other kids made sweeping generalizations about him and his friends. If they slapped labels on him because he does this, or doesn’t do that. He stopped.
“Then let’s be careful what labels we place on others.” I felt so right saying those words.
But now, I’m thinking. How many times, have I viewed people only through their outward appearance, or the people they hang around with? How many times have I labeled them in my self-righteous little brain?
I’m getting better about not doing this, but fact is? I still catch myself labeling someone based on how they look. What I see them doing.
No one likes to be labeled.
What we see of others is so limited. And yet, we make judgments based only on the surface of a person.
I’m convicted because, though I didn’t confess to my son, I am still, sometimes, a label-slapper. My own smallness feels a little bit taller when I can label another person. Especially if I look better in my own eyes.
2 Cor 5:16—“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
I read this verse in my quiet time, and it stopped me.
“What is a worldly point of view, Lord?” A commentary on this verse enlightened and convicted me.
The worldly point of view is, in essence, the outward distinctions. Jew, Gentile. Learned, unlearned. Rich, poor.
Or, through modern-day eyes—pretty, ugly. Successful, loser. Wealthy, homeless. And all the thoughts that follow with these labels.
The writer of the commentary said we are to view people in the “higher life of those who are dead in Christ’s death, and alive in Him in the new life of His resurrection.” (
What if we viewed people, not for the outward image they portray to the world, but from a standpoint of faith? What if we could view people as either they are alive in Christ, or they are dead in Christ?
What if what they wear, how they talk, how they act didn’t matter so much in our minds? What if we could see either a fellow brother or sister, or someone who needs the hope that only Jesus can offer?
What if we could see a person as one who needs Jesus and in turn, show them love as Jesus does?
Instead, I (may I say WE?) need to stop placing labels on others. We need to ask Jesus to give us His eyes through which to view others. He sees hearts we cannot glimpse into.
He sees the hurts that have formed the person. But He also sees the completed work they will one day be.
Maybe we can begin to ask Jesus to help us see others through His eyes rather than through eyes of cynicism or judgment.
May each of us see beyond the surface of a person and show them love, regardless of what we think we know.
What about you? How do you avoid judging others based on appearances? When have you seen God’s grace shine in your life?