"Life isn't fair."
"You aren't being fair."
"I just want what's fair."
"That is such a double standard."
If you have lived with a teenager, you've definitely heard these battle cries a number of times. Maybe we've even used them ourselves.
There is a human viewpoint in which we are looking out for "number one." We want to make sure someone doesn't get more benefits than we do. We want to make sure everyone experiences at least as much pain as we do. Both of these perspectives ignore the fairness concept when someone has fewer blessings than we have, or is experiencing more hardship than we are. This approach never leads to peace or contentment. In fact, the outcome is that we become covetous, cynical, bitter and even hostile.
However, there is the divine viewpoint. God misses absolutely nothing (1 Peter 3:12). He is completely aware of what we think, say and do. First Peter 3:13 tells us, people who do the right thing usually don't suffer harmful consequences. For example, if we pay our debts, we get to stay in our house and can usually avoid financial trouble. If we lead a healthy lifestyle, we usually live longer and with better quality. This verse shows us that when you live the right way, the odds are in your favor.
Still, there are times when we do suffer and life is not fair even though our conduct and decisions are good. The next verse (14) promises that we can consider ourselves "blessed" if we suffer for righteous reasons. Obviously, we can experience unpleasant consequences when we make decisions that violate God's principles. James 1:2 gives us comfort: "When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your life, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!"
Here are some insightful techniques that can help you deal with suffering and life's unfairness. First, you are called to patiently endure unfairness, so that you can know you are fulfilling God's plan. Second, one day you'll be rewarded for enduring these undeserved trials (James 1:12). Third, don't panic and don't worry (1 Peter 3:14). Fear comes from the Greek word "phobos" which means being seized with terror and running to take flight. The instinct is to run away, but God wants to give you calmness in your spirit. Finally, acknowledge Christ as Lord over this event.
"When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to live at peace with him." Proverbs 16:7
Editor's note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-659-9519.Religion on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: When life "just ain'tfair"