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Topic: Labels (01/05/04)
TITLE: Labelled !
By David Ritchie
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"This bottle of pills on my prescription would have cost me £93, while this bottle would only cost a couple of pounds," my wife informed me as she unpacked several bottles of pills from a bag. The pills looked much the same, indeed one of the problems we come across in the Homecare Section, is a result of people taking the wrong medication. Sometimes this is through deterioration in someone's mental capacity, while at other times it is simply that people did not go by the instructions on the label.
Thinking on my wife's medication, to the ordinary person, the main thing that differentiates between the many types of pill is the instructions written on the label. This tells the frequency the medication is to be taken and the strength of the dose. It sometimes states that it should be taken before or after food. Following the instructions on the label is so important to good health.
I will refrain from quoting figures as they fluctuate depending on the source, however in Britain, many people are admitted to hospital through mismanagement of medication. The instructions on the labels are so vitally important.
People will give all kinds of reasons for not taking medication. Some say they have taken it; others will put it in their mouth then dispose of it instead of swallowing it. "It does not agree with me. I cannot stand the side effects. They make me sick. They stick in my throat. They are too big. They don't do me any good." These are all reasons people give for not taking their medication.
When God created us he made us all different and determined that we would be known by name. The bible tells us that those who fear him have their names written in his book (Mal 3 v 16). The next verse goes on to say;
"They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
I guess you could say he has put his label on us. In the fish market in Fraserburgh where I live during the auction after a 'lot' of fish have been sold, someone places a label on each box signifying whom they now belong to.
Indeed labels play a vital part in many avenues of our lives. For those who have travelled by air, can you imagine the arguments there could be at the baggage reclaim if it were not for labels? They are a means of identification even for the baggage handlers to get them on the right plane, as they jostle along the conveyor belt.
Unfortunately in our interaction with one another things are not so straightforward, for the labels used sometimes go beyond a name. I do not wish to use any illustrations for this other than to say, they can include descriptions of how a person looks or acts. These can be very offensive and unkind; in fact Psychologists tell us that labelling people can be self-fulfilling prophecy. E.g. The child that is told they are not so intelligent as their sibling will very often accept that role - although it may not be true.
If we must label let it be labels that build up and inspire, let us look and think on others as Jesus does. Many people around us are walking around with negative labels that have been imposed upon them. We can make a difference, refuse to use these labels and look for positive things to reinforce.