I was reading an old journal of mine today and come across the statement “Labeling is easier than compassion.” I don’t know if this thought is mine or a quote so forgive me if I err.
It is so easy to label people. It is also easy to make snap judgments about who they are. How many times have I met someone and “assumed” what strata of society they come from or their level of schooling or intelligence. How often I have been wrong.
My son, when a teen, worked at a golf course’s shop. A man came in browsing. He was dressed in somewhat crumpled clothing and sported a battered hat. Fortunately for him my son just took it in stride and sold the man the things he wanted. Later someone told him the mas was Sam Walton…the founder of Walmart. How easy it would have been to think the man didn’t have the money to buy anything.
Labels are “odious” (Madeleine L’Engle). We have not walked in the shoes of the person we are labeling. We don’t know what kind of life they have had. Someone who seems angry man have been abused as a child.
Having compassion for those we meet is the way to start out. Even if we don’t know what is behind their behavior or mindset. We can’t go wrong in setting our own behavior to believe they deserve our compassion. Maybe we can change lives.