Warning Labels

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I have been doing some housecleaning. Ok scrubbing. And this thought came to me….

Have you ever noticed how sometimes when they advertise different drugs or products on television, the potential side effects they list for that particular item makes you seriously consider if it is even worth taking?

For instance, you see an ad for something that is meant to cure diarrhea.

The ad goes something like this:

This product is highly recommended to cure and stomp out all types of diarrhea.

Caution: Potential side effects of this product include drowsiness, chills, hot flashes, shortness of breath, chest pains, sudden desire to watch Pee Wee Herman movies, dizziness, insomnia, headaches, earaches, explosive diarrhea, loss of memory, leg cramps, nausea, sweating, foot-in-mouth disease, hearing loss, loss of eyesight and possibly death.

Refrain from driving while using this product. (duh!!)

Use only as directed and consult your physician within 24 hours should you experience any of these side effects.

I mean, reading this list of side effects (excuse me – potential side effects) would you take this product?

It is supposed to cure diarrhea, yet it may CAUSE explosive diarrhea! What?

And possible death?

No inconvenience, even if it is diarrhea is worth the possibility you may die trying to cure it.

I would pass. Wouldn’t you?

Our pastor did something unique on Sunday. He had everyone in the congregation look at the stage and count how many things we could see that were yellowish in color.

The numbers people came up with varied slightly but for the most part, we all saw the same things.

He then had us close our eyes and yell out how many things we saw on the stage that were greenish in color.

The numbers were all over the map.

He explained the obvious. It was it is very hard to see green when you were looking for yellow.

The lesson was that you see what you are looking for. If you are looking at people and you are looking for flaws, you will see flaws, guaranteed.

If you are looking for weaknesses, you will see weakness.

If you are looking for strengths, you will see strength.

If you are looking for potential, you will see potential.

You see what you are looking for!

Do you ever wonder why God doesn’t put warning labels on people?

Don’t you think that would be great? You meet this new person. “Lydia” if you are a guy (substitute Leroy if you are woman)

They seem great.

They talk great.

They have great manners.

They are extremely friendly.

They even smell great.

They look great.

They just seem great.

But just to make sure, you drop something on the floor in front of them and let them bend down to pick it up while you quickly check their warning label on the back of their neck.

“Oh no!”

You read:

“Caution: Although “Lydia” is an extremely warm person at “first meet”, she does exhibit signs of paranoia and annoyance the longer the relationship goes. She has been known to borrow large sums of money without returning and has a “best before date” in a relationship of about six months. Handle with care. Treat with Wisdom”

So now, no matter how great “Lydia” looks, sounds, smells or seems, you have some inside information. No matter how much of a jerk she tells you that her last boyfriend was, you know there is more to that story.

You proceed with caution, if at all.

Life would be so much safer. Hearts could be better protected.

Money saved.

Hope preserved.

Think of it. It would save time and heartache in romantic relationships.

It would save time and money in business.

It would just be so much more convenient. No unnecessary risks. No working on something that just seems so hard.

I mean, when you buy oven cleaner, for example, you buy the one that that will do the most amount of work for you, meaning of course, you do the least amount of work necessary. Am I right?

So back to my question….why do you think that God doesn’t save us all a lot of heartache, money, hope and trouble and just stamp each one of us with a warning label?

Mine would probably read as follows.

“Timothy is a real people person. He loves deep and he hurts deep so handle with care and respect. Timothy is extremely passionate about some things in life such as God, family, friends and ministry but may appear to have little or no interest on things some deem necessary. He struggles with boundaries at times and will invade others unintentionally while constantly having his own invaded. He has tremendous potential as a business person, ministry person, friend and family man, but will struggle to find his niche. He is his own biggest critic. Because Timothy is so quick to trust, he can be hurt and taken advantage of very easily but be aware. HE HAS MANY BIG AND PASSIONATE FRIENDS AND FAMILY.”

I think that God does not “use” warning labels because he wants us to do the work of loving and discovering on our own.

Remember….love is a verb. Love takes WORK.

Oh sure, sometimes you will hear a story where someone was “told” by Him not to have anything to do with this person, but that is usually in cases where there is going to be real hurt and real pain caused and God just had other things bigger He wanted those people involved with.

I think for the most part though, He wants us to take the risk and reach out in love and get to know the people we come in contact with. To do the work and see things through as we learn and grow together.

I have many wonderful people in my life who probably would not be in my life had they read MY warning label. It would have warned them of past hurts. It would have warned them of a lack of confidence in some areas. It would have warned them of a struggle to “really let people in” and probably many people would not have deemed me worthy of believing in and getting to know.

I think we underestimate sometimes the power we hold when we believe in somebody who is not quite able to believe in themselves yet. It is like we are able to show them something in their future that they are blind to seeing at this time, yet will be so huge for them when it comes to pass.

Many of you told me I could write before I even started to fathom it. Now I find myself hoping, even praying you are right.

I am sure if many of us had the opportunity to “read labels” of other people, we might not be in half the relationships we are in. In some cases we may not be married to the person we married or doing business with the people we are doing business with. Our friend circles may be cut in half.

Because we just don’t know the work and the “stuff” that we are going to have to endure in order to get to the “finished product”.

I know for a fact there are people I never would have bothered “letting in”.

And I would have cheated myself so much by not doing so. 

So let me ask you something? Are you glad that you don’t have a warning label?

A pastor once said that we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.

It is not fair, but it is what we do.

So what would your “warning label” say? What would it warn people of? What are you so glad that people didn’t know about you until they got to “really know you”?

I am sure I can’t be the only one that feels blessed that people have CHOSEN to see beyond my faults and LOOK for my strengths.

And KEEP looking.

I am so glad I did not come with a warning label.

Aren’t you too?


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