I am reading a novel about Attila the Hun.
The author, William Dietrich has written a number of novels about the ending of the Roman Empire and has covered many topics about those last years of Roman Rule. His writing on Hadrian’s wall and Attila the Hun have been some of my favored tomes.
Attila was a brutal warrior king who ranged far and wide in an effort to conquer his present world. The life and death of all was never something he considered – all death was the result of war, and all war produced great death. Innocent children, pregnant women, elderly and feeble – all would die in the advance of his marching horde. Men would fight, and when conquered they would often simply join his army.
They would become what they feared and fought.
As his armies neared, inhabitants would flee taking only what could easily be carried. Attila would ravage the land, burn all the buildings, destroy all food sources, and lay waste in horrible fashion everything around him.
He fancied himself by different titles, but seemed to always be seeking a new label. Where I am currently reading in the story he is revealed by a Christian on a pilgrimage to be the “Scourge of God”, sent forth to punish nations for their sins. He then sees himself as a weapon of the divine and this justifies his actions!
After reading of the Huns brutality I can only say I am glad to be living in the modern world.
The author has attempted to accurately describe every tribe, race, and country. My attention was drawn to the labels that were being used to identify every living creature. We are no different in these modern times. We label everything.
Labels are often used to give combined identity with other similarly considered folks, and partly to let others who are differently labeled understand how to pigeonhole you into a classification. We have done this with co-workers, bosses, neighbors, friends and enemies. Regions, fabled lands, nations and continents.
It seems like everything has a label.
What is your label?
The key to this is we often see ourselves differently than others see us, even putting labels that might not meet the viewpoint of those looking our way. Some say, “I’m free” and others see you as bound. Some say they are liberal, others say you have no boundaries. One says Republican, another Democrat, while others say Libertarian. Still, others are not bound to a particular label and think of themselves as Independent. Then we try to categorize the label, you know “far right” or “leaning right” or “smack dab in the middle.”
Recently, I considered the Apple aficionado and compared them to someone who likes Windows only. As the world grows so do the products and the operating systems. In the earlier days of computers it was Big Blue (IBM) against all others… And I cannot come up with a good comparison because I think all the others basically disappeared! Was IBM the Attila of the Modern Computing Age?
All of this labeling has been going on for a very long time! Even Jesus dealt with these labels and gave them different identity.Mat 23:25-28 KJV Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. (26) Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (27) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. (28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
At one time a Scribe or Pharisee was an honorable title – I think. Each person drawn into the ranks of these labels were drawn by their own predilection, or perhaps forced by their families choice for them. Regardless, Jesus looked not at what was being presented outwardly, he looked on the inside. What most of us cannot see because of limited vision, Jesus could see to the heart of the matter just as God could see to the very heart of King David. (1 Samuel 16:7).The heart represents the inward definition of a person. The pure in heart will see God (Matt 5:8), long before lust of the eyes there is a lust of the heart (Matt 5:28). Your heart is at the center of your treasures (Matt 6:21). What you speak comes from the root of the heart (Matt 12:34-35). You can worship God with your lips, but your heart can be far from God (Matt 15:18), because out of the heart comes all manner of evil thoughts that lead to actions (Matt 15:19).
So. A label can mean one thing on the outside, but a totally different label can apply on the inside. When we look at labels in life we really want the label to be truthful about what we are going to experience with a product. Think about your label in life – inward and outward as you consider these labels…