“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32, NASB).
As I mentioned in my last post, I have had people get angry for labeling my dad as abusive. However, when we look at the definition of labeling, we see that describing his behavior is not “labeling.”
Here’s the definition of labeling:
“assign to a category, especially inaccurately or restrictively.”“children were labeled as bullies” (Google Dictionary).
I believe that the key word here is inaccurately. I hate labels, especially when it comes to children. There are no bad children. I have constantly been labeled inaccurately as “retarded,” “heretical,” and a “drama queen” by people who don’t even know me and judge me wrongly. Frankly, I’m guilty of judging others and labeling them inaccurately as well. This is something that I continue to work on.
I also had another run in with a “Christian” pro-spanker who became more and more insulting to me and others as we tried to point out the Truth that Proverbs was not meant to be taken literally when it comes to the rod verses that seem to advocate for corporal punishment. I don’t know where he gets his Hebrew and Greek definitions, but I do not believe that they are from accurate resources. Of course, he thinks the same thing about me.
I assure you all that I get my definitions of the Hebrew words and Greek words from Biblical scholars and always link to them. Here’s a wonderful article about the accuracy of the Bible. I take accuracy very seriously because James 3:1 states:
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (NASB).
I don’t fear God, as in being afraid of Him, but I am reverent towards Him. Thank the Lord that God is love and forgives. The pro-spanker tried to say that the Hebrew word for fear the Lord means to be scared of Him. It made no sense in the context of 1 John 4 where the Bible describes God’s amazing love for us and that fear has to do with punishment. I’m sorry but love and fear cannot co-exist.
Well, things got heated and I described what I was seeing in his comments. With both my dad and this pro-spanker, I have been thinking a lot about labeling and have come to the conclusion that it’s not “labeling” if you are describing behaviors you have experienced and/or observed.
Here’s the definition of describing:
“1. give an account in words of (someone or something), including all the relevant characteristics, qualities, or events” (Google dictionary).
There’s nothing wrong with pointing out negative behaviors in an appropriate manner which can be difficult in the heat of the moment. My dad was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to me and my siblings whether they want to admit it or not. To keep quiet about the abuse is to make it ok. It’s NEVER ok to hurt a child in any manner. There’s so much victim blaming and gaslighting from people who don’t want the abuse exposed. I will never be able to pretend that this abuse didn’t happen even when I have forgiven him.
The same goes for pro-spankers who become insulting and un-Christian like. A person can only take so much before he or she explode. Being mean, insulting, and hateful just sends people—adults and children into fight or flight. They cannot hear the person any more and will eventually either lash out or shut down. I imagine that this is what most of these people who resort to being mean and hateful want—a reaction from the person trying to be kind and respectful and explain our viewpoints. If these people must inflict pain on children, then I can see why those people also must inflict pain on everyone else.
Children grow up and some become trapped in the horrible, abusive doctrine that they were raised in. Or get stuck in believing that an abusive pattern is fine. People like me who were traumatized by the abuse find their voice and must speak out for the children. I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I just want people to know and experience the true, beautiful love of Christ and to STOP children from being hurt due to man’s traditions.
Plus, with children we teach them by describing what they are doing and asking questions. Gentle parenting describes emotions and helps children work through them appropriately. During a conflict between two children, we describe what is happening in the moment to help each child see the others’ point of view and come to a resolution. Without describing, learning would be difficult.
I must point out that diagnosis of a disability or disease is fine and necessary. However, diagnosis should not become labels that are used against children and adults. I have severe cerebral palsy and it doesn’t define me. It just affects how I live my life which is not easy but I am blessed with a wonderful life.
In conclusion, it’s necessary to call a spade a spade. Sometimes the truth hurts when we humble ourselves and realize that we are wrong. However, the Truth (Jesus) will sett us free if we allow Him to do so. What a wonderful message to teach our precious children!