Labels

I went to Noise (the youth group at my friend’s church) last Friday. It was really fun. The theme was Victorian mystery night. They set up a huge Sherlock Holmes mystery based on a board game. It was actually very involved, and supposedly based on a real mystery from the 1920s. My team almost won, but nobody was actually right. We were all really close though. I am generally not very good at these murder mysteries, but I still had a great time. The Bible study was also interesting. There is a new, young couple that has been coming lately and helping out with the youth group. At first I was not sure if I liked them, but they turned out to be very cool. They were the ones to give the Bible study this time. It was all about labels. First they asked us about what we thought a label was. We decided that a label could be a few different things. For instance it could be like a label on food or on a present, or it could be something invisible that you put on a person. Basically it identifies someone or something. We were talking about the kind you put on a person. It was more fun than other Bible studies because they tried to get us involved. They gave us a sheet of paper and showed us a slide show of pictures of people and asked us to write down a word that came to mind when we saw the person. Some examples of the pictures were things like a cheesy looking business man, a really big sumo wrestler, and a peppy, blond cheerleader. It was not very hard to think of words to describe the people. After the slide show we read our answers out loud, and some of them were pretty mean. Others were funny, but it just goes to show you how quickly we label people without even meeting them. I guess it is like not judging a book by its cover. Of course there is nothing stopping us from making these labels in our heads. Maybe we were raised around people totally different and these new people just seem weird to us. We need to get to know the person before we put them in with a “group” where we think they might belong. What if you saw a random person standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus, but behind him was a group of smokers. Would you automatically assume that he was a smoker? Highschool is a great example of all these stereotyped people whom we label. All smart people are assumed nerds, all cheerleaders popular and annoying, and all jocks bullies or jerks. A lot of labels start as rumors. Or maybe you heard it from your parents or saw it on TV. But it is up to us to decide who we are and who we want to be, and who our friends are. First impressions can ruin your chances of getting to know someone who might be a really cool person. All we can do is to keep an open mind about people all the time.

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