Categorizing

 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.

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9 Responses to Categorizing

  1. johndobbs says:

    You Redneck! Good points to be made for sure. It’s hard not to categorize people, but every time we do we are denominating ourselves from them. There are a few categories of people in the NT … but most of the message has to do with tearing down walls and demolishing categories such as Jew, Greek, Slave, Free, Male, Female, Scythian, Barbarian, etc. In Colossians he says we are to only see Christ…who is in all. A needed reminder…thanks.

  2. dannydodd says:

    Excellent comment John. The Colossian reference is powerful.

    Now about my redneck…. 🙂

  3. Of all the fist pounding over sins…too bad we didn’t pick up on this one as important.

  4. Donna says:

    I just heard an interview with Charles Barklay (yes the loud mouth basketball player) and he said that one thing people forget is that you can disagree with someone and still be friends. Differences should make us grow and forge a bond….instead we let it become one more way satan does win…

    And there is a movie called “Love and Basketball”…

  5. Larry says:

    It’s difficult not to categorize; we just can’t condemn everyone we label and place into our little cubbyholes.

    Even good and evil are categories, and we often place people in these categories based on their actions, and often just on our prejudices.

    Donna’s mention of Chas. Barkley’s method of handling disagreements is certainly valid for Christians…no need in calling them names and writing them off because we disagree with them; we may discover they are right!

  6. Having been categorized many times … I appreciate this post.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  7. ben overby says:

    Jesus was in the category of
    drunk
    glutton
    out of his mind
    “Nazarean” (nothing good ever came from there)
    Carpenter’s son
    Blasphemer
    Sinner
    Sabbath Breaker
    and for a day or two —failed Messiah

    Categories are inevitable. Slapping back isn’t.

    Thanks for the needed reminder!

    Ben

  8. preacherman says:

    Danny,
    I appreciate this post. You challenge us to treat others with the grace of God. We must catagorize our hearts and minds to life of Christ and will of God if we are to please God and make a differnce in the world. You ask some great questions that need to deal with in the body today. Again thanks for making us think. God bless you brother. Hope you have a blessed week!

  9. dannydodd says:

    Thanks for your encouragement Bobby. Hope to see you at Pepperdine. I am looking forward to your classes.

    Ben, great comment. Satan did his best to accuse Christ, didn’t he?

    Good to hear from you again Preacherman. Your comments are always insightful and welcome here!

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