No Person is a WordA problem with talking is that sometimes you say things you should not or people hear meanings you did not intend. This is especially true with labels for people. We need them and they are useful, but they are easy to misunderstand. Let me try a simple example.In my last post, I said Senator Clinton was a leftist. By American political standards, I think this generally true. It is not even an insult! I am not sorry I said it, but would be sorry if someone took it to mean that I thought such a quick comment exhausted Senator Clinton’s character. Clinton is a person created in the image of God. Persons are complicated and no word can sum them up. Clinton is also a wife, mother, and church member. Even if we listed everything she did, we would not have captured her essence. People are more than what they do. What we do impacts the person we are for good and bad, but it does not give the full measure of our soul. The soul of a person cannot be captured by a single word or even a series of single words.The same thing is true about a single action. Most of us have done things we regret. I certainly have. God forbid that the full measure of any person’s life becomes reduced to a single thing they have done for good or bad. O.J. Simpson was overly praised for one aspect of his life, football, but this did not give us a full picture of the man. Some people are overly blamed for a wrong done, but that too does not sum them up. Such a final judgment waits for God who sees and knows all things.So when I say that Clinton is a leftist I think it useful short-hand, but only that. It helps readers place her quickly, blog posts cannot be books, and it makes a point. It does not argue for an end to a thought or examination, but calls for a start.Labeling is not wrong. Our Lord called Herod and the religious leaders of his day by tough labels. It is only wrong when the speaker fully captures a person or the listener thinks this is true. It might capture one aspect, some of the Pharisees were in some ways white washed tombs, but not every facet of any individual. Those same Pharisees were right about some important things like the immortality of the soul. This too was part of what it meant to be a Pharisee. Almost all labels used properly are qualified in some way. How sorry I am for the times when I label and then cease to think about that person as a person!When a child does a bad thing, he was bad in that thing, but may still be redeemed! So I am a Christian, Orthodox, a husband, father, Republican, creationist, monarchist, and many other things. I can be truthfully given many labels some good and some bad. Thank God I am not just those things. I am also a soul in need of mercy who hopes to receive it when he stands before God. Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
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