Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Names and Labels

Names and labels are almost synonymous and I’ll be considering them to be one and the same for this discussion.  I’ve been called a lot of names over the years and I’ve been given labels in near equal proportion to the names.  It’s the painful names and labels that stick the most.  They are like thorny briars that stick to my clothes and skin as I make my way through the natural paths of life. 

My painful names and labels have included pea-brain, retard, idiot, dummy, not worth it, so over you, lazy, demonstrate-signs-of-Aspergers, no wherewithal, and more in that genre.   For as much as I tried to fight off those names and labels and even though I had wonderful parents who did what they could in my early years of that battle, the names stung and built within me a lack of belief in myself that continues to this day as remnant scars on my soul even though I know I am an adopted child of God with all the privileges that come with that.

Since becoming involved in Urban Hope, I’ve discovered another slant on this topic of names and labels.  Allow me to set the stage for you…

You’re driving in your car and you come up to a red light.  Standing on the cement barrier that separates northbound from southbound is someone holding a sign that reads “hungry” or “help.”  If you dare to look at them when they are looking some other direction, you might notice filth, ratty clothes and matted hair.  Under your breath or to the other people in your car, you might make some comment like “Loser,” “Dirtball,” “Addict,” “Lowlife” or other similar names within that genre.

They know it too.  They know that most of the society looks down on them as we tilt our noses toward the ceiling of our Mercedes or BMW.  (Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh but it is all too typical.)   The names we often apply to them are in the same genre as the names that had been applied to me for an unfortunate chunk of my life.

Through my involvement with Urban Hope, I’ve come to appreciate that there’s another set of names to attach to these cement barrier walkers.  It’s a genre of name that we all bear.  Mine is Chris.  Yours is __________.  There has been David and Autumn, Steve, Gina, John and Gabriella, Martha and more.

Take a moment to get to know this genre of name for the person behind the inappropriate name or label.  You’ll be amazed to discover a real human being made in the image of God and worthy of dignity, honor, respect and love.

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