Be Careful How You Label Others!


Have you ever repeated something you heard about someone and did not know all the facts? Have you ever known someone in a certain way, then you heard something negative about him or her, and after that, you looked at that individual in a different light? Have you ever purposely spoken evil against someone, knowing full well what the consequences could be? If you answer “Yes” to any one of these questions, then you were judging. James 4:11 (ESV) says, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.” Let me share a personal experience with you. Several years ago, my principal selected me to teach Advanced Placement English that year. I was so happy because I had been AP trained for quite a while, and I had taught the course before. Needless to say, there were those who did not want me to teach the course because they felt that another teacher deserved to teach the class. Okay, that was fine. However, it did not stop there. It is my understanding that discussions were held against me. Then the ultimate-a letter was written to the editor to be published in the newspaper, “Wrong Teacher for AP”! The majority of the information in the letter was erroneous and cruel. Obviously, the writer(s) knew nothing about my background as a teacher. I was even referred to as “poison.” At the time that I heard about this venomous communication against me, I was in Spartanburg with my oldest son who was taking care of me during my recovery from surgery. Did it hurt my feelings? Yes, of course. Did I fire back at those who perpetrated such against me? No, I did not because I didn’t have to. My work as a classroom teacher in two different states has always spoken for itself. As a result of this judgement against me, the class did not make that semester. However, my principal believed in me and assigned the class to me again. I ended up teaching the class two semesters and had awesome success! One of my outstanding former English 4 Honors and AP English students, who later became a student at the University of South Carolina, contacted me for a letter of recommendation for acceptance to attend the Jurist Academy in Delaware that summer. As always, I felt honored to be asked and gladly obliged. Here’s her e-mail response to my letter of recommendation: “Mrs. Bright, Good morning! How are you? I am emailing to once again thank you for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation for me. This additional wave of thanks is due to my being accepted into the Jurist Academy! I will be traveling to Delaware this coming June to complete the program. Without your letter, my application would not have packed as much strength as it did, and I am infinitely grateful.”

Need I say more? My work continues to speak through my former students. It is with such regret that I did not get the opportunity to teach that first group of students who had signed up to take the AP course. Consequently, it was due to a group of people who misjudged me, knowing nothing about my abilities and qualifications. However, I did get the chance to teach some of them in a previous English Honors course. A word of advice: Be careful how you label others! Always abound in the faith, and never leave home without Him!