Abnormal — The New Normal for Christ Followers

As we share our lives with those around us each day, we must consider the “we” or the “me” others are really seeing.  Does our life reflect Christ’s character? Do our words and actions line up with what we read in scripture?   University student, Emese Sykes, gives us a great perspective to consider, along with scriptures to read and contemplate, in her recent writings for the church newsletter at Calvary Pentecostal in Cambridge, Ontario.  Consider “being abnormal”… 

Our standards need to be raised. Too often I see Christians, myself most definitely included, whose dealings with people are very…well, normal. We get impatient with Tim Horton’s employees, we roll our eyes at our families, we complain about professors and pastors, our best friends, landlords and maniacal drivers on the highway. Many times, we may not see anything wrong with it; “they did fill-in-the-blank so they totally deserve it. It’s not like I’m being malicious”. We may even have friends who cheer us on: “You’re totally right. You can’t be a doormat, you need to stand up for your rights. You don’t have to deal with that kind of thing. Good on ya.” But I have a proposition to make: 

As believers, our behaviour must not be normal.

If we treat people in a way that makes sense to the world, that means we aren’t different from the world. When we declare that Christ is Lord of our lives and then proceed to treat people no different than nonbelievers do (even really nice nonbelievers), we are in effect declaring that the new life we have in Christ is no different from any other one. Our actions are saying that his love is indeed sufficient for us, but there’s definitely not enough to go around. But, as I hope you know, that couldn’t be more untrue! God’s love for people is extravagant! It’s over the top, un-cautious, illogical, tenacious, and prodigal, even. He went entirely out of his way to show his love for you and entirely out of his way to forgive you and entirely out of his way to provide for you. And then, he commanded those of us who chose to follow him to be like him. Be holy as your Father in heaven is holy. Forgive as Christ forgave you. Love because he first loved us. 

So what am I saying? I’m saying that the world’s standards for how people ought to treat people are not sufficient. They’re akin to a toddler’s concept of “fair”, which is usually wildly self-serving. Followers of Christ are meant to adopt a new standard of grace in dealing with people. Make a trade. Give God your heart, which is synced to the world and its obsession for self, and ask him for his in return. And then, don’t just sit pretty; adopt God’s habit of extravagant love. Treat people the way they don’t deserve to be treated, because that’s exactly what God does for you every day. That means going out of your way to show someone God’s heart for them.  Going out of your way to forgive somebody.  Going out of your way to bless someone or help them out, listening to them and making their business your business, not because you’re obliged to — but because you care. 

humility-copyKeep in mind that a Christ follower is a servant. Our role model practiced humility to the ninth degree. Therefore, it’s necessary to abolish any notions of entitlement or reward and any discomfort you have with being a doormat, a slave, a backstage hand, unrecognized, unimportant, overlooked. Get comfortable in your discomfort; check and double check that you’re always considering others better than yourself and that you’re not keeping God’s love to yourself. 

Read up: Ephesians 4:32, 6:7, James 3:13, 17, 1 Peter 4:7-11, 1 John 4:7-21, Romans 12:9-21, 13:8

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