More Than A Label

Hello church family, this is Pastor Phil, 

As we’ve been watching the events of the coronavirus unfold all around us, I’ve been amazed at all of the new vocabulary and terms that seem to have become common household words in a just a weeks. 

Words like self-quarantine. I really can’t imagine before this week ever using that term about myself or others, but my doctor put me in self-quarantine when I was sick.

Or other terms, like, COVID-19 or coronavirus, neither really are things that I normally would never have said, but now, literally everyone knows what these terms mean. Another term that keeps going around is “high-risk” population. We’ve used the term at risk or high risk before, but right now, when someone says “high-risk” they pretty much only mean, individuals who are more likely to suffer severe complications if they have the COVID-19. I even saw a whole news article about “living as a high-risk” family.

This week, when I think about loved ones in my life, I’ve even started to think about them in terms of high-risk and low-risk for complications from this crazy virus. 

In such a short time it feels like the words that we use to define ourselves and each other have all changed. It’s like the ways that we define ourselves are intricately linked to this new virus. In reality, just a few months ago we talked in much the same way about the flu, heart disease, teenage drivers, the elderly, the young, and everyone else- high risk, low risk for whatever it might be that could hurt them. We’ll do the same in the future when all of this settles down. 

Not only do labels like high-risk/low-risk label you and me, but other labels from the time we were born: cute, fat, skinny, smart, athletic, not-athletic, popular, rich, and nerd have been placed on people to define them and so often to put them down. Other terms as well, hurtful, horrible labels that are repulsive to say are often thrown around in the heat of an argument or from a broken, sinful heart. 

In this world, there will always be labels and it so easy to get caught up in the labels and let them define us. But I want to remind you that in Jesus Christ, you have, not a label, but an identity, that is secure and strong, that resists all the labels. This identity in Jesus can never be taken from you. Think about this passage from John 1:12.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

In Jesus, your identity is a child of God. That means you are loved deeply and part of a family here on Earth and in Heaven. This identity can never be taken away from you, no matter what label may be placed upon you. No matter what labels you hear or receive in the coming week, months, or lifetime, know that what matters most and will never change is your identity as a child of God in Jesus. 

Published by philipmcclelland.org

​I am a recovering burned out workaholic​ who forgot I couldn't change the world. From the ashes of that not only have I found a peace from God that I never knew but a focus on what matters, God, family and loving my neighbor as God has loved me. My burning out experiences really drive my writing and how much I want to share all of the good God has worked through the hurt I've experienced. Currently I serve a great little parish in Northern Ohio with my wonderful family and our furry farm of five dogs, four cats and the oddball handful of fish. You can find me at www.philipmcclelland.org.

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