Being Labelled

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If there is one thing I dislike about attending conferences, training events, meetings and so forth it’s the wearing of name badges!  

At some conferences the badges are printed and produced at others, you have to write your own.  I am sure I am not the only one who has been tempted to change my name for something a bit more interesting.

I remember one course my wife and I attended a few years ago when we swapped names every day.  It really annoyed the course leaders!

So, why don’t I like wearing name badges?  I suppose it comes down to the fact I don’t like being labelled.

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In life, we all wear a variety of labels.  Mine include name, age, occupation, husband, father, grandfather (I know I don’t look old enough),  But also, in my time, I have worn some less nice labels.  Failure, reject, useless.

Sometimes I have been labelled by others.  Sometimes I have placed the label on myself. This morning, I shared in Church, a verse from the Psalms that speaks into the labels that I put onto myself;

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.          (Psalm 51 vs. 3)

You see, sometimes I allow my mistakes to define who I am.  What the Bible teaches is that my mistakes and mess don’t have to.  

Simon Peter (the disciple) had really messed up and even denied knowing Jesus.  Early one morning as Peter was out fishing he saw Jesus standing on the shore.  Jesus cooked breakfast and then talked with Peter and brought forgiveness and new opportunities for him.  As they walked down the beach together that early morning Peter experiences the truth of grace.

So, what does this “grace” mean for us.  It means you cannot sink so low that you are in place where you cannot find the grace of God.  You cannot be in a place of failure so deep that God gives up on you.  You cannot be in a place where God labels you as not worth bothering with

A few years ago I visited that beach.  It’s a place called Mensa Christi (the table of Christ). I took a walk down that same beach and tried to picture in my mind what it must have been like.  As I walked along my eyes were drawn down to the stones set in the ground,  fairly big stones.  

They were heart shaped.  A reminder to me of God’s love and grace available to a fisherman who ran away.  A minister who makes mess ups and fails more than he succeeds.  

And to you to

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God’s grace big enough for all of us

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