Labels

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Labels – 25 September 2006

People seem to love to label or categorize just about everything around them, especially things they don’t really know very much about. And the reason they don’t know much about them is because they probably don’t want to exert a little effort to find out more, or they want a convenient scapegoat to vent on.

For example, the word “liberal” – as in “generous” or “tolerant” – has become a convenient label that is often misapplied in an effort to malign those with whom one disagrees.

Something I find difficult to understand is how anyone who defends the rights of God’s creatures to exist as He intended is labeled with all manner of vicious labels; and how those who claim to be believers in God and/or Jesus are often among the most critical and nasty. Is it because deep down inside they know the truth about the suffering to which they are contributing?

How is it possible to read in the New Testament about Jesus’ generosity and tolerance (He was accused by His enemies of associating with undesirables) and come to the conclusion that He was the opposite of “liberal”? If I may for a moment resort to labeling, Jesus was the most radical liberal of His time!

Those who hide from the truth because of cowardice, or so they can indulge themselves in the products of cruelty (flesh, dairy, and eggs) without feeling guilty, remind me of many Bible verses in which the hard-of-heart are reprimanded.

In Mark 8:17 Jesus asks “Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?” He continues in Mark 8:18, asking if his listeners have spiritual blindness, as well as spiritual deafness – “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?”

In the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) the Lord says through the Prophet Jeremiah in 5:21:

21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
~ King James Version

In John 9:39-41 Jesus speaks to the religious leaders, the Pharisees, about spiritual blindness.

39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind."

40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?"

41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.
~New American Standard Bible

There are many more similar verses in the Bible, and they all point to this continuing problem: Most professing believers fail to follow Jesus’ basic loving, compassionate, and peacemaking teachings for the whole of Creation.
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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