Hi this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…New Normal
“New normal” is a statement that gets used a lot these days. I have to admit that I have even used it in my counseling room, though in light of this edition to my podcast, I am considering eliminating it all together from my vernacular.
Just two years ago as a result of the pandemic, we were all essentially forced to sequester ourselves in our homes as much as possible. While we were still allowed to leave to do things deemed essential, like shop, other things were deemed too dangerous and we were commanded not to leave the safety of our houses for those things, like corporate worship. It was all a part of the “New normal” we were told. It didn’t matter that for all of human history prior to that time we quarantined the sick, in our “New normal” we were going to have to enact that measure on those were perfectly healthy as well.
It wasn’t all that long ago we were still being asked to accept that when we were in public we would have to cover our faces with a mask, it was just the “New normal”. That “New normal” had so many unintended consequences. Physically, emotionally, mentally and even socially. It created enough other problems that eventually even those forcing the policy had to recognize the dangers being averted were likely not as great as the ones being caused. Thankfully, these above mentioned “New normals” have been for the most part restored to the old.
Recently I heard this same phrase being offered by the media to explain away some of the things happening in our nation. It was mentioned in regards to runaway gas prices. The pundit I was listening to was explaining that these higher prices were here to stay. Until we weaned ourselves of our need for fossil fuels and learned how to use renewable energy sources to propel our lives, we would just have to get used to the “New normal” of astronomically high prices at the pump. On that same program, the panel assembled advised that Americans should also get used to higher expenses across the board as transportation costs for goods and services continued to rise as a result of the higher cost of fuel. Their take on inflation is that higher prices are the “New normal” and we will all just have to accept and get used to it.
Morality is another area we are being asked to accept a “New normal”. When “Mostly peaceful protests” cost taxpayers and insurance companies billions of dollars from the ensuing damage, we were asked to accept it as the “New normal” of social justice. As the family structure is discarded as unimportant because marriage and fidelity are considered old fashioned, we are told to simply understand that those are personal decisions and we have no right to disagree and force our ideals on others. It’s just the “New normal”. Entire cities have even acquiesced to the stipulation that unless loss from thievery is in excess of $900.00 a robbery hasn’t even occurred. Those businesses affected by such “grand lunacy” are told not to consider it being robbed, and call the police. Rather, they should see it as “Loss of inventory” and call their insurance agent. After all, can’t we all just admit we are living in a “New normal”?
What does God’s word have to say about our “New normal”? Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us; That which has been is that which will be [again], And that which has been done is that which will be done again. So there is nothing new under the sun. (Amplified Version) Yet, it seems impossible that this old world has ever been like it is today. Paul wrote however that; “…When [people] measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they lack wisdom and behave like fools”. (2 Corinthians 10:12 AMP) That statement certainly bears itself out to be true. When we rightly compare ourselves to God we have something to glorify and reflect because we have been created by Him in His image and His likeness. His righteousness gives us example of how we are to act and what we ought to do. His instruction to us shows us the correct way to interact not only with Him but also with those around us. He is loving and selfless and through relationship with Him and understanding of His word we are given opportunity to be the same toward others. However, when we begin comparing ourselves to ourselves, we see only our peers, our equals and our selfish nature drives us to discover what we deserve and how they should treat us. When you take that into consideration, men and women have been doing exactly that since the beginning of time…I guess there really isn’t anything new under the sun. But still… Should we simply accept it as the “New normal”?
This week in my regular time with the Lord I was reading in the book of 2 Timothy. In the fourth chapter of that letter from the Apostle Paul to his spiritual son Timothy, Paul instructed him, and us how to deal with “New Normals”. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 in the Amplified Version reads as follows. Preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry.
When I read these words penned by the Apostle Paul, they almost seem to be written to the 21st century church in regards to the educational system of our day. Our schools and universities are currently seeking out teachers and professors who will validate the nonsensical thought processes that fulfill the selfish desires of mankind. Their academic stature is lent to offer legitimacy to the “New normals”.
But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry. (vs 5) Our mission is clear…continue to speak truth. Don’t shy away from it, don’t stand down from it. Most importantly however, never do it in the absence of love. Scripture is clear, correction without love will never be seen as anything but irritating. Irritating confused people is not, has never been, nor ever will be an effective way to point them to the truth. Love on the other hand is able to empathize with one who is misunderstanding, while not agreeing with their misconception. We have all at times tried to justify our own ungodliness, we shouldn’t be surprised when someone else tries to do the same.
1 Peter 3:15 encourages us as to the importance of measuring out the truth about “New normals” in a loving way. But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.
So now, taking up the ministry of lovingly offering truth about “New normals” to the lost and confused world around you…Go Be Awesome!