It can be hard to remove labels once they’re affixed, can’t it?
They can be so darn sticky.
You can try to peel off the paper part of the label, but the adhesive often stubbornly remains behind on the object. It can take some strong chemicals or a lot of scrubbing to remove every last trace of a label or sticker.
But what about the labels that people affix on us, whether we want them to or not?
Labels like “loser,” “clumsy,” “screw-up,” “stupid,” “misfit,” or “failure.”
They can be the stickiest, and the hardest to remove.
Once people classify us in a certain way, it can be awfully hard to shake that identity. We eventually internalize the labels that people put on us, and believe that they must be true.
Especially when they’re negative.
But did you know that God has put “labels” on believers?
And they’re all good!
If you’ve ever invested in stocks or mutual funds, you’ll probably have come across a disclaimer like this:
“Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.”
This phrase is meant to warn us and give us pause before we press the “Buy” button. We shouldn’t assume that an investment will continue to succeed in the future just because it’s done so in the past.
But there’s a secondary meaning that can be read into that disclaimer, too.
We shouldn’t discount or overlook an investment opportunity simply because it has performed poorly recently. It could well turn around and gain ground.
It’s this last meaning of the disclaimer that we see exemplified in several characters in the Bible. It applies to our own lives as well:
Past failures in our lives don’t mean that God can’t still use us.
They’re not a reliable indicator of our future results or success.
When you’re trying out a new recipe for the first time, do you ever get apprehensive that it won’t work out?
I certainly do. That’s why I usually stick with one of my mother’s tried-and-true dessert recipes.
I worry that if I bake a dessert I’ve never attempted before, I’m bound to mess it up. I fear that I’ll disappoint the people I serve it to, and tongues will wag.
As I walk by, people will whisper, “There’s that woman who serves fallen soufflés!”
Or, “Isn’t she the one who bakes cookies that are as hard as hockey pucks?”
In the worst-case scenario of my imagination, my baking debacle will be so embarrassing that I’d have to leave town.
With some recipes, however, you really can’t go wrong, even if you’ve never tried them before.
Brownies, for instance.