Heart of the Matter: That’s Not Fair
Anyone who has reared children, taught school, or ran an office has heard the phrase: “That’s not fair.” In almost every instance in which a child makes a request to his or her parents, the child has already determined the response he wants to hear. Anything short of their desired response is considered unfair. Oftentimes their friends are unexpectedly brought into the picture as we hear: “But Jimmy/Sally gets to go.” In fact, most parents (and even some bosses) can relate to being compared to others in a negative light. Children (and employees) are not afraid to tell us how much “nicer, kinder, sweeter, friendlier” other children’s parents are. Rare is the home that has reared a teenager without having a bedroom door slammed followed by the words “That’s not fair!” reverberating throughout the house.
Here’s what I intend on teaching my children about fairness.
Life is not always fair. I realize that this simple statement may catch you off guard or may not sit well with you, but it is the truth. There will be times in your life that you should win something, but due to forces out of your control, it will go to someone else. There will be times that others around you are enjoying certain things that you will not have. But I want to make sure you understand something—that does not change who you are and Whom you serve.
Make no doubt about it: God is still in control and He knows everything. Even on your most unfair day, you can take comfort in knowing He is still on His throne watching everything that transpires. The writer of Hebrews noted, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account” (4:13; c.f. Proverbs 15:11; Romans 8:27). God knows how you feel.
I guess if I could teach you only one thing regarding fairness it would be this: No matter what happens to you physically in this lifetime, ultimately, if you are faithful and love God, things will work out for good. That’s not a hope or a dream. That’s a promise! Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” There will be times in your life that you will really need to lean on this verse, as it may appear that things aren’t fair. But remember, unlike your friends or your parents, God can see the big picture—and He will ultimately make everything right. He is a fair and righteous Judge.
Something else you must consider regarding fairness is that God loves everyone (John 3:16). And because of this sincere love for His creation, we know He is not a respecter of persons. When Peter was preaching to Cornelius’ household, he said, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). Remember, Cornelius was a Gentile, and Peter was telling them that God wanted them to be saved just like the Jews. Jesus said, “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). So while a perfect and just God created man equally—He did not create us perfect. In other words, men are not perfect. We all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Being imperfect means some of the decisions we make or are forced to deal with may be unfair. It means that some people may treat you unkindly or show preference to others. But this is not what God intended. God desires that we love Him and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39).
I know there may be times in which it seems the decisions your mother and I make are unfair. Understand that we, more than any other humans on the planet, love you and your soul. Our decisions, while they may seem unfair, are based on that love. There may be activities you miss or movies you don’t see—because of our love for you and your soul. I promise you the easier answer would be to give in and allow you to do whatever you want. But by giving in, we have allowed Satan to win and have in essence told you: “We are not concerned where you will spend eternity.” However, we do care, and as such there will be occasions that you don’t get to go along with the crowd. Remember, God doesn’t want us blindly following the world. He wants us to stand out (Romans 12:2).
I truly am sorry that life occasionally feels unfair. Know that all humans occasionally feel this way. But remember this doesn’t change our love for you or God’s love for you! Now, the real question is how will you behave when life seems unfair?