There is power in a name. It’s what everyone first sees as YOU. Companies spend thousands of dollars to create a specific label that is going to stick out.
Every morning, we wake up, and we put on our labels like a name tag. The rest of the world may not be able to see them, but they become a part of who we are. They shape how we act, what we base our identity on. Our labels may be given to us by people around us, our parents, the kids from school, or even ourselves because of our shame over our own actions. But we wear them like a straight jacket. We just can’t shake out of them.
One of my favorite stories in the bible is that of the adulterous woman. John 8:4-11. Jesus is in the temple teaching when some men brought forward a woman caught in adultery. They were shaming her publicly to catch Jesus up on his teachings. Instead, He shows such an amazing act of grace and non-judgement. His response is to say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her.” Obviously everyone walked away, because we are all wretched in our sin. Then, the one man who could have condemned her because he was blameless, chose instead to love her, and let her walk away. But not without and invitation. He showed her no judgement and poured out grace, then he invited her to leave her life of sin. He gave her the hope that she didn’t have to be like this anymore.
She got a few labels that day. She was shamed publicly. People probably whispered behind her as she walked by, called her a whore, adulteress. Those kind of labels tend to stick with you. They’re the ones you wake up in the morning and put on. They change the way you act, the people you talk to. Labels like unlovable, untouchable, dirty, slut, idiot, addict and so many more. But Jesus also gave her a couple labels to walk away with. Loved, covered by grace, changed. When you sit at the feet of Jesus you don’t have to walk away with the same labels. Our name tags, and labels CAN change. From ones of shame and despair, and “I’m never gonna change” to ones of hope, joy, grace, peace, and ultimately CHANGED.
Because of the amazing sacrifice of God sending his son to die and become our sin, we are able to step into his presence and be changed. Jesus can wipe our labels clean and replace them with new ones.