It’s really hard to avoid labeling. It’s something that you and I do that’s kind of automatic. The first time someone says or does something, without even thinking we go for a snap judgment. Then a label.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s something we like or something we don’t like. As soon as we get that impression, we tag them. And then we’re done.
Done thinking, that is.
Because once we get them labelled, we’re going to view everything they say or do according to that label.
It’s a real time saver.
Because once we sort someone out, you and I can just go with the label. We never have to really listen to what they’re saying again. Much less actually hear the person who is saying it.
We just go with the label.
That convenience does come at a price.
We end up judging the worth of others. Something that’s always dangerous. Something that we would never want done to ourselves. But it’s something you and I are all too ready to do to each other.
Based on an unchangeable snap judgment.
Which is why labelling always leads us to seeing people as things. Separating us from each other. And ultimately from God.
Exactly what St. Paul is warning us about in today’s first reading.