We were having lunch at one of our favourite little restaurants, and I was fixing my tea.  I had ordered green tea, as I often do, and I absented mindedly opened the bag and put the teabag into the pot.

But wait a minute… this tea wasn’t green as I had ordered.  It was peppermint.

My hubby and I burst out laughing… because our very young waiter had brought me tea in a green package… made sense.  And luckily I like peppermint.

What made it more funny was we had just seen a hilarious picture on facebook of a sign that said “Green Vehicles Only”, in a parking lot.  Parked under the sign was a very green old pick-up, probably gas guzzling to the hilt.  Perhaps the sign should have said Electric Cars… or Hybrid Cars… or some other environmentally easy to understand instruction.  But the green truck was parked under the sign “Green Vehicles only” .. looked legit!!

Things are not always as they seem, that is for sure.

I was reminded of so many people who we come across every day who could be in pain, who could be struggling with a chronic illness, who could be grieving… any number of things.  They look fine.  They got up that morning, and they are going about their business as best as they can…

It reminds me to treat everyone kindly… gently.  We simply do not know what people are carrying, even though they may seem as if everything is well.

It also brought to mind about the labels we carry, and how they can be misinterpreted at times.  We all have grids with which we view the world, some good, some bad.  Our perceptions can be just that, a perception of how things are, and not always the truth.

Recently I became aware of how an individual responded to the label “Christian”, in a very negative way.  And it made me ponder what was her experience of “Christians”.  I wondered if she was hurt in some way by those who wear that label, and if so, I want to say “I’m sorry”.

I know from the many conversations I have had in my work as Chaplain that the Christian label is not always welcomed, and in some circles quite suspect.  It is sad for me that it is often acquainted with judgement, with self-righteousness, instead of love.  This is opposite to everything I stand for!

I’ve come to call myself a Christ-follower, for those who find the word Christian difficult.  People are flawed, Christ was not.

I know I myself can be a stumbling block because I am also deeply flawed.  We all are.  What I DO know is that Christ whom I follow and love called us to love one another.

Labels are not always what they seem.  Sometimes we have to be reminded that what we perceive is not always true. 

And above all, in all things, to live a life ruled by love.

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