As a socially awkward boy growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I related to one character on TV and the movies more than any other: Kermit the Frog. I remember watching him, sitting on a log in the middle of a swamp, playing his banjo, singing: “It’s not easy being green.” I can remember thinking to myself, “This guy gets me.”
It’s not easy being green. It’s not easy being different. We all, to some degree, want to fit in. We all want to be normal.
But is being normal such a good thing? I have a rather eccentric friend who likes to say, “Being normal is overrated.”
Being normal is overrated. Just look at what is normal in our world today. Over forty percent of marriages in our country end in divorce. Divorce has become normal. Seventy one percent of teenagers have had sexual relations by the time they are nineteen. Premarital sex is normal. So far this year, there have been 750 million searches for pornography on the internet. Pornography has become normal.
Abortion is legal in our country. Recreational marijuana use is becoming the norm in many states. Gay marriage is not only permitted, it is celebrated. In a sinful world, sin is normal.
In that sense, we were all born normal. We are just like the other 7.2 billion people in this world. We are selfish. We lose our tempers. We struggle in our marriages and with our children. We are just like everybody else and yet, as Christians, we are different.
We are different because God took us, dirty slaves to sin, and adopted us as his children through Holy Baptism and his Word. He washed us clean of all our sins in Jesus’ blood. We are different because we are forgiven. We are different because we are God’s adopted children. We are different because we are going to heaven.
As Christians, we are just passing through this world. Heaven is our home. That truth changes how we live and how we act here on earth. We aren’t like the rest of the world. We aren’t “normal.” We are different.
I used to live in Mexico. When I first moved there, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I dressed like a gringo. I spoke like a gringo. I acted like a gringo. But then, as I spent more time down there, I started talking more like a Mexican. I started dressing more like a Mexican. I started acting more like a Mexican. They call that “cultural acclimation.” The more time you spend with a group of people, the more you start talking and acting like them.
How often don’t we become culturally acclimated to our sinful world? You get a new job in the oil fields. The other guys like to cuss, drink and go to the strip club. How long before you don’t start sounding and acting like them? At school, you start going to parties where kids are drinking or smoking pot. You tell yourself, “I can go without it affecting me. I won’t do it.” Then, before you know it, you become culturally acclimated.
You are different. God has washed you clean of your sins. You have been adopted as his son or daughter. You are going to heaven. So come out of the closet. Stand up and say, “I am not ashamed to be a Christian.”
I know it’s not easy being green. It’s not easy being different. A part of us still loves the sins from which God has freed us. A part of us wants to fit in and be like everybody else. But you aren’t like everybody else. You are different. You are a forgiven child of God. Don’t let yourself become culturally acclimated to this sinful world. Dare to be different.