What is Normal?

The first book of the Bible highlights the reality that people are flawed. Cain was jealous of Abel and killed him. Lamech introduced polygamy to the world. Noah, the most righteous man of his generation, got drunk and cursed his son. Lot, when his home was surrounded by residents of Sodom who wanted to violate his visitors, he offered to let them have sex with his daughters instead. Abraham had relations with his wife’s servant, then sent her and their son off to the wilderness at his wife’s request. Jacob married two wives and ended up with their maids as his concubines when everyone got into a fertility contest.

There’s a significant reason these stories were included in scripture; the writer was trying to establish a profound theological truth – everybody’s flawed. All of us have habits we can’t control, past deeds we can’t undo, and flaws we can’t correct. We know in our hearts that this is not the way we’re supposed to be, so we try to hide our flaws. We pretend to be healthier and kinder than we are.

We were created as God’s idea of normal, in the image of the Holy God. His normal for us was to love one another and to be able to make the right choices. Our reasoning, understanding, will and affections were aligned with God. Normal included the fact that our relationship with the world and each other was one of love and respect, just like God’s.

We are flawed, and that is ok because we are not alone. Despite our flaws, God chooses to work with us and transform us to get close to being the normal He desires for us. The next time you feel inclined to point the finger at someone and suggest they are not normal, remember who you are. Putting everyone in the same category helps us see the world through God’s eyes and allows us to serve His creations.