When a cat hacks up a hairball, it’s gross and nobody wants to deal with it. But it’s part of catdom, and so if you have a cat you will clean up hairballs sooner or later.
When a three year-old shoves his finger up his nose to mine for buried treasure, it’s yucky no matter how proud he is of any gold he finds. But three year-olds do that. They’re not being naughty. They’re just being three.
Normal life has distasteful parts. Life isn’t bad when we experience the distasteful parts; it is actually demonstrating just how normal it really is, because it’s not normal to never experience the distasteful stuff.
It’s important to note that “normal” and “common” are two different things, however.
I’ve recently heard several heartbreaking stories of groups of Christians who have forgotten “normal” and have instead engaged in “common”. Arguments, betrayals, backbiting, lying, maliciousness and slander, rejection and abandonment…the cycle of pain and bitterness and wounding.
There is nothing normal about this in the kingdom. These things may be common, but they are not and will never be normal.
Normal in the kingdom looks like love. It looks like forgiveness and mercy, grace and partnership, support and encouragement. It looks like using truth to heal, not wound.
Each story I’ve heard has left me baffled because each story has assumed that the God will bless such dishonorable behavior because of some assumption of a greater-good end result by some (but never all) of the parties involved.
It’s important to remember that just because God appears to tolerate something doesn’t mean He blesses it.
It’s also important to remember that just because God appears to tolerate something doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences for partnering with the works of darkness.
That’s a scary position to find yourself in, you know, realizing that you’ve assumed God is on your side, or that He’s ok with your common but abnormal behavior. The wakeup call is usually painful.
Our normal is patterned after Jesus’ normal: heal the sick, raise the dead, make darkness homeless, make the broken and dirty clean again. Walk in light. Walk in love that is bigger than fear or injustice or pain.
We were created for the uncommon.