The Danger Of Human Labels - Guidelines Devotional
August 6, 2021

The Danger Of Human Labels


For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

You might hear a parent describe their child by saying something like, “He’s always been sneaky; don’t believe anything he says.”  One pitfall of labeling both others and ourselves is that labels tend to enforce the behavior they identify.  A child who is consistently called a liar will begin to think of himself as a liar.

Identifying one another based on behavior is not the way of Jesus.  Jesus encountered people of many backgrounds and from many strata of society—refugees, prostitutes, corrupt officials, priests and fisherman.  He saw each person as someone of value and worthy of dignity, even as he called them on their sins.  When God tasked a priest named Samuel with finding a new king for Israel, God reminded Samuel, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)

If you feel like you’ve been labeled with one particular trait, know that Jesus sees past that label and loves all of you.  He asks that each of us follow His example.  He calls us to rethink the labels we’ve put on our friends, family or enemies.  He sees beyond our sins to the person He believed was worth dying for.  Try to see your coworker or your child as Jesus sees them—not simply the behaviors that we observe consistently in them.  Viewing other people as God does can encourage them to live into that truth.


Resource reading: Luke 19:1-10

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