I once knew a young man who was trying to find his voice in the faith community. He was sharp and possessed great potential. I believe he had and still does have a calling on his life. Then he made a turn. He turned toward judgment, the premature kind that immaturity is drawn toward. The young man discovered an affinity with those who create labels of judgment and feel it’s their mission to label people and churches with whom they disagree. It was sad to see. He did find his voice, but the sound he was making did not represent the heart of God.
It is too easy to prematurely define people and their motives before we fully understand their reasoning or life-experience. We use our current understanding of truth and reality to craft our premature labels. We have seen this take place in the history of science, medicine, and health habits. The Earth was once considered to be flat. Germs were an unseen and unknown threat, and the benefits of healthy eating and exercise were not yet understood. Those premature positions created labels crafted from premature judgments made before a fuller understanding was realized.
The most dangerous labeling of all takes place in the area of faith. Be careful with labels. Only God knows how to properly label an individual or group who live outside the context of our current experience or level of comfort. God’s labels always have a redemptive element. Most of the time, ours do not. When we become a self-appointed label maker, we step into the dangerous territory of accusation. That is the devil’s favorite playground.