If you’ve grown up in the same town for a while: there are many who time-stamp you with certain labels that are nearly impossible to shake. You’re the lazy one. The angry one. The unreliable one. The bad kid. The loud girl. That one time you ___. And when we outgrow those labels, the shackles can still follow us.
Most of us do grow up: but we feel a need to defend ourselves or explain our actions or really win the trust of our neighborhood opinion. Yet there are always a few who have made up their mind about you, and they will always see you as the little punk kid who can’t possibly change.
I’ve been in the same town almost two decades and have made bad choices at least the first half of it. So up to this day, I’m still in a gossip-chokehold. Every few weeks, someone else is saying, I can’t believe you’re really a pastor now. Didn’t you hate God? Weren’t you at the strip club every weekend? Weren’t you running into the cops all the time?
Even in ministry, there are tons of pastors and leaders who will subtly sow those seeds of suspicion about other people. Be careful with her, she’s a little too friendly. Yeah that guy can preach but he’s got some issues at home. You don’t want to attend that church, they’re all crazy there.