Ephesians 4:1-7

Ever felt weird because you were "normal"? I remember the first time I had that feeling. I was a teenager surrounded by other teenagers in a testimony meeting. One girl, with tears running down her face, told of an alcoholic father who beat her mother almost every weekend. She described how she would hide in the closet lest she become a target of his drunken rage. Then she told how her friend at school had led her to Christ.

I sat very still. My dad didn't drink, nor had I ever hidden from him or seen him hit my mother. And the only time I'd ever heard him swear was when we had a flat on the way to our two-week vacation at my granddad's cottage.

After the girl sat down, a guy stood up and talked about how he had spent a couple days in jail the past summer for shoplifting.

And then another girl stood up. She looked "fast" (my mother's term)—too much makeup, teased hair, big earrings. In between two dozen "uhs" she struggled to admit that she had gotten pregnant and her folks had kicked her out.

Me? Peace was my everyday partner. I thought everyone had good meals, a comfortable bed, and a happy, harmonious family. Not until I joined the marines several years later did I realize my life was the exception rather than the rule.

Today, however, the "abnormal" is considered the norm. You're a freak unless you've got a ton of trash to unload. If you are not recovering from something, addicted to something, or a victim of something, you feel like I felt sitting in that testimony meeting.

Question: Is there a place where you can feel normal being "normal"? Or, if you're still struggling with something, still trying to come to terms with some heart-rending problem, is there a place where you won't feel "weird"?

Well, there should be, and it should be the local church—the Body of Christ. The church is a place for young and old, single and married, broken or healing, happy or sad, truck driver or brain surgeon, student or retiree, saint or seeker, you name it.

Whether we are normal or nearly normal or hoping someday to be normal, we belong. Whatever our situation, our status, our struggle, or our style, we are all looking for the magnificent truths of God, for genuine Christian fellowship and togetherness.

In the Body of Christ we are all the same: forgiven, but not perfect. Except for One.


Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.