Labels work really well when you're planning an event or organizing something. Labels work really well when you need to know where something is or what something is.
Labels have also become how we view our world and those that live in it.
We all give out labels and are given labels. Conservative; Liberal; jock; band-geek; Republican; Democrat; American; white; black; smart; dumb; dropout; adulterer; quitter; not good enough. Whatever label you find yourself categorized with, it doesn't tell the full story.
In John 8, Jesus tells the Pharisees to cast the first stone at the woman who was caught in adultery. Of course, no one casts the first stone, because none of them were without sin. Jesus then looks at the woman, who was labeled "adulterer" and says, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
This adulterous woman was caught. If we really step back and think about it, we can be placed in her situation. We've all been caught and labeled. Whether it was by an ex, a parent, or by a random stranger. We've all been caught in our sin and labeled by it.
Jesus continues on and says, "Neither do I condemn you. No go and sin no more."
Satan will try his hardest to make you think that you are only as good as your worst sin. You'll only ever live up to the level of your worst sin. You are forever labeled by what you've done and how bad it was.
Jesus, on the other hand, comes in and calls you, not by the label that your sin has given you, but by the name which he calls you. Jesus didn't call this woman "Adulterous Woman" as if that was her name and label to him. He simply called her "Woman."
There are no labels when it comes to Jesus. Jesus wipes labels clean. Jesus exchanges our label identity with an entirely new identity.
When Jesus sees you, he doesn't see you as "Democrat Phil." He doesn't see you as "Republican Joe." He doesn't see you as "Adulterous Woman." Jesus sees through the labels that others give you right to the heart.
Jesus ended this story with telling her to go and sin no more. He didn't condemn her. He didn't condone her sin. He redeemed her. He showed her the dignity she hadn't received before. He showed her forgiveness, and he showed her a better way.
While others may label you by what you've done. In Jesus, God sees you through what He's done.
What labels are holding you back? How does God actually see you?
Exchange your label identity with a new identity from Christ.