Categorizing is a rather easy thing to do. Based upon just a few observations or some amount of general information we often find ourselves sizing folks or situations up, attaching a label to them and categorizing. Sometimes, I suppose this can be useful and necessary, but more often it becomes harmful and even dehumanizing.
Are you aware that our English words, “category” and “accuser” are related? They both share common roots in the Greek language. Take Revelation 12:10 for example. A “loud voice in heaven” is speaking about Satan. John records what is said:
For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God night and day has been hurled down.
The word for “accuser” here in the original Greek language is kategoros. Sound familiar?
Have you ever stopped to think how some involved in the slave industry could treat a fellow human being as mere chattel? Or how an ordinary WWII German soldier could ever bring himself to be involved in the mass murder of Jews? Or how a young man or woman can enter into a marketplace blow themselves and others up in the name of religion?
Categorizing- that’s how.
Categorizing- putting labels on people because they look differently or believe differently takes away their individuality. They stand accused before us. Therefore we somehow grant permission to ourselves to mistreat them After all, it is what they deserve, right? The result of this twisted thinking- in just the examples given- has been more than tragic.
Categorizing is Satan’s business. When we play the accusing game we are in lock-step with him.
Think of the labels we throw around in church circles- liberal, progressive, radical, mossback, conservative, instrumentalist, change agent, traditionalist, digressive, etc. Think about what these labels conjure up in our imaginations.
Do we treat each other- even those who differ from us religiously- with the grace of God? Or do we allow what they have been accused of to influence how we approach them?
I recall what my grandmother used to say. She would tell me to, “be careful when you point your finger at someone because four more are pointing back at you.” She did not need knowledge of the Greek language to know the dangers of accusing.
I don’t want to assist Satan in his work of accusing my brothers. I don’t want to be in his category.