MM00056 It's not fair
Mentoring Manna: It’s not fair!
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
Ecclesiastes 9:11 “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time; like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them.” Have ever felt that life is not fair? You feel it when you work the hardest, but someone else gets the position and the raise. You feel it when you take care of yourself physically and then suffer physical problems when someone else is abusive of their health and never get sick? You feel it when someone else prospers whom you deem unworthy. The feeling of unfairness comes to us all.
One of the sobering realities in life is this: life is not fair. It never has been and it never will. But God is! God has ordained that all final issues of justice and fairness be settled on the Day of Judgment. As long as we make fairness in this life an issue, we will always operate with the mindset of being a victim rather than of being a victor. We will become bitter rather than better. As long as we compare our lives to others, we will rob ourselves of God’s blessings and miss God’s purpose for our lives. The sooner we give up our quest for fairness and get on with embracing God’s will for our lives, the happier and more fulfilled we will be.
Consider the Apostle Peter. In John 21:18-20 we read the account of Jesus telling Peter how he would one day be martyred for the sake of Christ. Peter then turned around and saw John and asked Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus replied, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Jesus was making a point that life is not about comparisons and fairness, but it is all about following Jesus no matter where that path leads us. It was not Peter’s business to question God’s plan for John. It was not his role to sort out what is fair and what is not fair. It was his responsibility to get his eyes off of others and on to Jesus. Only then could he truly follow Jesus.
Who can know and understand the ways of God? Life does not unfold according to fairness, speed, skill, understanding, or favor. It unfolds according to God’s plan. This does not mean that we give in to fatalism whereby we quit striving to do our best. But it does mean that we stop being unsettled when life does not turn out the way we think it should. It means that we respond to unfairness in the character of Christ rather than to react according to the flesh. It means that we respond as Jesus did before going to the cross by committing ourselves to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23). Remember: the cross was not fair, but it was the will of God. Thank God that Jesus did not refuse the cross and say, “I will not do it. It’s just not fair!”
Application: We all have felt the sting of unfair treatment. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” it will happen again. The question is how will we respond when it occurs again? Are you experiencing an area in your life that doesn’t seem fair? Is it with your spouse? With your children? With your job? With your health? With a brother or sister in Christ? You have a choice. You can let the unfairness of life make you bitter or you can let it make you better. Will you give in to the weakness of the flesh and react in a way that does not glorify Christ? What will you gain if you do? Or will you rather commit yourself to the One who judges righteously and respond in the love and character of God? Remember, all issues of fairness will be settled in God’s way and in God’s time. For some, that may come on the Day of Judgment. Until then, the issue is not to demand that life be fair. It is to believe that God is fair and then to do His will. It is doing His will with the same character of Christ that He displayed when He went to the cross for us. No, life is not always fair. But God is.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, forgive me for demanding that life be fair. Life is not fair, but You are. Help me to entrust those areas where I feel like I am unfairly treated into Your hands. I believe that You will judge my case righteously. In doing so, I turn my focus away from those around me. I determine from this day forward to set my focus on Jesus so that I may truly follow Him---no matter where that path may lead. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”