Have you ever been pigeon-holed from people of your past? You have done something and they labeled you because of your actions and you were placed in concrete of the past. Whenever they look at you they only see you as that person from the past.
I am reminded of a young girl as a freshman had been very promiscuous and was labeled as a slut in her high school. She was referred to me because of her past trouble and we began to work together. Over the course of time she told me that she didn’t like that label and wanted it to be changed. It meant that she could no longer act like the label and had to make changes that would erase the label. It took two years of actions on the part of this young girl to change the label. She first needed to commit to removing the old press of her past.
These labels that people put on us can be our friends, people in the community, or the influencers of labels can be our own family. It is so hard to remove a label once it has been put on us.
I was reading in I Samuel 17 of a label that 6 brothers had put on their youngest brother. David, the youngest brother, was a sheephearder for the family. Three of his brothers had enlisted in Sauls army as they were preparing to fight the Philistines. David was asked by his father to take supplies to his brothers and to get an update on the war. “David left his supplies in the care of the quartermaster and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he asked his brothers how they were. While he was speaking with them, suddenly the champion named Goliath, the Philistine from Gath, came forward from the Philistine battle line and shouted his usual words, which David heard. When all the Israelite men saw Goliath, they retreated from him terrified. David spoke to the men who were standing with him: “What will be done for the man who kills that Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
David’s oldest brother Eliab listened as he spoke to the men, and he became angry with him. “Why did you come down here?” he asked. “Who did you leave those few sheep with in the wilderness? I know your arrogance and your evil heart — you came down to see the battle!” “What have I done now?” protested David. “It was just a question.””1 Samuel 17:22-24, 26, 28-29 CSB
Eliab had a label on his youngest brother. He saw him as just a sheephearder. He had labeled him as arrogant and and evil heart. Eliab saw David as just an inquisitive teenager that was sticking his nose into other’s business. David’s brother was going on the old news clippings of David and didn’t see what his brother was about to do.
In life there will be times when we make mistakes and those around will begin to label us because of our mistakes. Loser. Lazy. Teenager. Adulterer. Adulteress. Lier. Good for nothing. I could go on and on. We don’t have to believe the news clippings of others. We have a choice to change the past and begin to write our own news clippings. Our journey starts by seeking the One who can transform us from a teenage sheephearder into a giant killer.