Power of Labels


Collage of nutrition labelsLabels can be powerfully important.


As a pastor I am accustom to late night calls. Once, in the darkest hours of deep, deep sleep, the phone rang. It was a frantic and already grieving voice informing me that her husband of nearly 60 years was fading. They did not expect him to remain in this life much longer. I hastily ran to the bathroom to splash my face and brush my teeth. In the gray light, hurrying, and not wanting to disturb my wife too greatly, I reached for the toothpaste, squirted a blob upon the brush and went to work. Gag! Not tooth paste! In my failure to read the label I inadvertently picked up a tube of antibiotic cream instead. Gross. Read the labels!


Labels, however, can be wrong.


I learned the above lesson, again, the hard way. Have you ever heard the joke about going to grandma’s house and having to ask which butter container actually has butter in it? I’ve been there. I once reached into the fridge and grabbed an apple juice container, took a swig, and quickly realized it was actually vinegar based barbeque sauce! Again, gag! Always check to see if the contents match the label. You see, as important as labels are, they are not always correct. After all, it is the contents that should inform the label, not the other way around.


The same is true of people, our kids especially. They often come to Boys and Girls Homes with labels, labels that other people have negatively forced upon them. Those labels might include: dummy, worthless, ‘gangsta’, troublemaker, useless, gross, or slow, just to name a few. These labels DO NOT match the contents! At the heart, at the core, our kids are real human beings, children of the Living God, and created in His image. They are loved, needed, and important. They are potential waiting to explode into success! They are the future of our community, state, and nation. These are the labels that should be checked and respected.


The same goes for you, the reader of this humble blog. Do not let anyone falsely label you, and do not take their imposed labels at face value. God knows the contents and has labeled you in His heart. “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b).


Dr. Mason Smith is the Director of Civic Club Relations for Boys and Girls Homes of NC.

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