I graduated from an enormous high school. In 1981, we were the largest graduating class in the state of Texas, with a whopping 1565 seniors walking across the stage that year. Basically, you knew the people with whom you shared activities and classes, but it was hard to know much of anyone beyond that. Case in point: At my graduation, I only knew (or even recognized) one person in the five people on either side of me in my row. Crazy.

Like any high school I suspect, we had our labeled people groups. We had our jocks, socials, nerds and freaks (our term for what others call stoners). We also had the activity labels for choir, band, drama, drill team, chess club, student council and on and on. Though I had friends or acquaintances in just about every group of people, I remember thinking it was difficult to get beyond their label. It was like the label limited the extent to which I could know them.

The reason I bring all this up is that, last night, we had a 50th birthday party gathering for our high school class. We had our 30th reunion a couple of years ago, and it was so fun that one of our class mates took it upon himself to put last night together. He hopes to do it once a year, or so, for those who can make it. With the advent of Facebook, many of us enjoy keeping up with one another, and love the chance to do it face to face. Like I told him last night, my favorite part of these kinds of get-togethers, and Facebook, for that matter, is that we finally are far enough away from high school itself to actually know each other without the labels.

As I watched people in the room, I saw a guy who was the self-proclaimed “Captain of the Bong Squad” walk in looking like Glenn Beck. I happen to know he lives a very different life now, and I smiled at the change. I spoke with a lovely gal whom I didn’t know terribly well in high school, but whom is now a grandmother like me, and we both glowed as we exchanged baby stories. There was one girl who was widely considered a “mean girl” in high school, who walked in exuding grace and kindness, her sharp edge tempered by life and loss; while I hate that it was hard-earned, the change was beautiful to see. Certainly, there was still a lot of memory-swapping, and I could see who the people had been in my mind’s eye. But more, I could see who they were now, beyond all the immaturity…beyond being pigeon-holed by the groups that claimed them.

You know, it takes years for us to be able to see change in people. We have to grow ourselves before we can see those around us differently. But, even though He can certainly see us the way we are, God’s all-encompassing view of us is how we will be. He sees the finished product, the perfect, the whole, the healed and covered by Christ’s sacrifice, pure and without blemish. With Him, our past doesn’t define or hold us captive anymore, because He took care of that 2000 years ago on Calvary. Give thanks because we are label-free, folks. Maybe it’s time we claim it and start living like it, and also start viewing other people through different eyes…His.


He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 NLT

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

Come now, let’s settle this,”says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet,I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson,I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NLT

There is no longer Jew or Gentile,  slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NLT