He had a name, I suppose, but we’re not told what it was, and I doubt if many knew it anyhow. He was, however, known throughout the community as “The Cripple.”
Life’s labels can often be more difficult to deal with than life’s circumstances. It could be that you have dealt with a label all your life. I’m amazed at how easily we get them, but even more amazed at the damage they can do. Maybe you acquired your first label in grade school when you received your first report card. It couldn’t be missed. There it was, emblazoned in the big black letter “F.” That little paper card felt as if it weighed two tons as you carried it home to your mom or dad.
As you grew older, life’s labels became more complex. Now it’s divorce, bankruptcy, moral failure, alcoholism, or maybe a false accusation, and no one chooses to believe your side of the story. Bottom line: It’s a label wrapped around your life that people see and read long before they get a chance to know the “real” you.
Like the man at the gate, you have a name, but no one knows it, and furthermore, they choose not to learn it. It’s just easier to refer to you as “the cripple.”
Let me tell you something about labels. A label is only someone’s opinion, and your Heavenly Father feels much differently about you than those who have pinned life’s labels to your lapel.
In the Bible, the name “Jacob” meant “worm,” but God called him “Prince,” when He changed his name to “Israel.”
Gideon was a coward hiding from the enemy, but God called him a “mighty man of valor.”
The name “Peter,” meant “small stone,” but Jesus called him “Rock.”
Saul was a murderer, chasing down Christians to throw them into jail, but Jesus changed his life and his name. He became “Paul,” who wrote over half of the New Testament.
I shouldn’t confess this here, but I will. As a kid, I was always curious about the labels attached to the pillows that came with the clear warning, “Do Not Remove!” Maybe my attitude was wrong, but I thought, “This is my pillow on my bed. I put my head on it, sleep on it, and dream on it.” So, I decided one day I would see what happened if I pulled that label off.
Guess what happened? Absolutely nothing!
The house didn’t fall. The pillow didn’t come apart, nor did it slap me in the middle of the night.
Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. I challenge you to rip off the label!
You are not someone’s opinion. You are who the righteous and caring God says you are. Rise up in the name He has given you and take hold of your promising future.