I was telling a tribe member the other day that I’m moving away from labels. Labels mean you are you being placed in a category. When we say certain phrases or words people automatically think of the category. If I say “Republican” you automatically think conservative. If I say “Christian” you automatically think of God. If I say “church” you automatically think of religion. Words and labels have more meaning to us than just the definition.
The subject came up in conversation because I said I’m done saying I’m a “Christian” because of the stigma that has become attached to it. Ten years ago it meant something different than it does today. Today it is affiliated with a political party, it’s affiliated with hypocrisy and deception. The word has evolved in some minds to mean you are better than others. The definition of a Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflect Jesus Christ. The definition may be the same as when Jesus walked the earth but the meaning in today’s world is different.
It’s the same as other words that have evolved. When I was growing up the word gay was taught in school as happy and was referred to as happy. In today’s world, if I say I’m gay, people automatically think I’m referring to my sexuality. Just because the definition stays the same does not equate that it has the same meaning to folks.
If you are doubting what I’m saying then start telling everyone you meet that you are a Christian. Watch faces, expressions, and watch the expectations. Yes! There are expectations when you say that word. If you tell a homeless person you are a Christian they expect you to give them money, feed them, clothe them. If you tell someone sick in the hospital, they expect an open prayer with them right then and there. If you tell friends and family, they expect you to always be there for them and help them. There is an expectation that comes with that word that most folks are not willing to do.
This is not a blanket statement. I know there are still a few folks out there claiming the label and doing the right thing. But in today’s world, the majority wins and the majority don’t do it.
Ironically there are those out there not claiming the label and they are helping and doing more than those claiming the label. Claiming a label definitely does not mean you are that! If you are not what you claim, you are a fraud. The definition of fraud is to deceive others. I don’t want or desire to have others’ perception of me to be a fraud. I don’t want to be attached to a label and talk about it, I want to be about it. As I have written, it’s better to be a thing instead of looking like a thing. If you want to be better, do better. Take away labels and just start doing the right thing. Let your heart be your guide, listen to that voice within you that tells you what you need to be doing. You can call it what you want but just start doing the right thing because that is what we were created to do.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.