Stop the Labeling

Stop the Labeling

A label is a word or phrase that describes or identifies something or someone. For instance, we can label someone (or even ourselves) as: 

  • Stupid
  • A Jezebel
  • Lazy
  • An addict
  • Rebellious
  • An alcoholic
  • A Heretic
  • A Baby Boomer
  • A Millennial 
  • Deplorable
  • Godless
  • Trump-ite
  • A doubter (like Doubting Thomas) – As a side note, I find it sad that we used one event from Thomas’ life and gave him an identity from it. 

When we label someone in a negative way, we will move toward these negative beliefs and behaviors by: 

  • Feeling justified in distancing ourselves from them
  • Becoming prideful because we believe we are a superior person
  • Reinforcing the negative tendency of judging others 

Judging others is not something Jesus thought highly of: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

We tend to judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions. In Matthew 7, Jesus gives us a great motivation and pathway to stop labeling (judging) others. Our focus is to be primarily on growing as a person and overcoming our own faults, rather than seeking to fix the people around us.

We live in an hour where negative labeling is rampant. Instead of bemoaning this, let’s make a difference by heeding the words of the Apostle Paul. “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Corinthians 5:16). We are to see people as God sees them. Their true identity is not in what they have done, but in who God has called them to be. We can be part of the solution by: 

  • Praying immediately for the people we want to label and criticize
  • Resisting any form of pride because we are not like “them”
  • Validating what we see right in people we disagree with
  • Seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood
  • Growing in our prophetic gift so we can label people with God’s label for them

As I close, let’s also determine we are going to put positive labels on ourselves. Here is what Joel Osteen has his church declare with him. It is the truth (biblically based), and as we say them, we will believe them more and experience them more: 

  • I am blessed
  • I am prosperous 
  • I am successful
  • I am victorious
  • I am talented
  • I am creative
  • I am wise
  • I am healthy
  • I am in shape
  • I am energetic
  • I am happy
  • I am positive
  • I am passionate 
  • I am strong
  • I am confident
  • I am secure 
  • I am beautiful
  • I am attractive
  • I am valuable
  •  I am free 
  • I am redeemed
  • I am forgiven
  • I am anointed
  • I am accepted
  • I am approved
  • I am prepared
  • I am qualified
  • I am motivated. 
  • I am focused
  • I am disciplined
  • I am determined
  • I am patient
  • I am kind
  • I am generous
  • I am excellent
  • I am equipped
  • I am empowered
  • I am well able
  • I am a child of the Most High God

For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.


Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

Go to Top