Roles, Labels and Stereotypes

In medicine there is a name for every symptom and every illness under the sun. We put fancy names to everything. One of the challenging things about medical school is it is like learning a new language. Labeling allows doctors to communicate more effectively with one another and think through patient problems in more logical ways. It gives doctors a frame work to think through a patient and come up with a plan of action. First you have to determine the diagnosis. Based on the diagnosis you form a plan of treatment that is based on scientific evidence and experience. This way of thinking allows doctors to compartmentalize things. It allows for them to separate the emotional side of themselves so that they can more clearly make decisions based on the best interest of the patient rather than emotions. It allows doctors to see a patient who is suffering, look past that suffering to take the most appropriate action.

Working as a doctor is hard work. Furthermore you have to make decisions quickly. Sometimes these decisions have big consequences. The framework that doctors are trained to think is the best solution for dealing with peoples lives in sometimes life or death situations.

But there is a problems with this thinking. It causes the brain to think only in terms of labels, stereotypes and makes you see people as science projects. It takes the emotions out of things but this also takes the imagination out of things. God’s work on this earth. His plan for our lives. The way he makes things work. How he uses our brokenness for his glory. All of this is often counter to all the roles, labels and stereotypes we like to use in medicine. For God does not follow the medical text book. Few people fit into the labels we have created for them. Yet we like to put a label regardless because it helps our brains make sense of our world.

But what if we just decided to throw the book of labels and stereotypes out the window. Stop trying to compartmentalize things and just see people as God masterpiece. What if we took this masterpiece and worked to create a home and ministry that is perfectly suited to how God has designed them. Instead of trying to change the person, we come along side God’s work and build something new. Something that glorifies God and builds his kingdom but maybe does not follow any of the rule books. Maybe there is a special blueprint for each person that is God’s design and we should embrace the creativity rather than forcing what our world says should be. For God does not follow the guidelines our world and culture sets. He is the alpha and the omega. He is the creator of all things. He is sovereign over all things when we ask him to be the director of our lives and he promises his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s not limit God. No let’s ask him to be the director of our lives.

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