I know my friends are more complicated than a label, but even when they’ve trusted me enough to show me some of their rough edges and label-defying moments, I still assume that I can sum them up with a label—or maybe a few, if I’m feeling generous.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.
Acts 4:13 (NRSV)
I think I know my friends well, and then they tell me some new information that shatters my labels. My perky, optimistic friend reveals that she has been struggling to find purpose in her life. My strong, independent friend tells me of an abusive relationship she has been in. My labels can no longer sum them up. They are deeper and more complex than my labels, which suddenly seem flimsy and silly.
ACT ON IT: We so easily accept the labels people project and assume we know people because of labels we’ve assigned to them. Instead, let’s take the time to look a little deeper, to see beyond the labels.