“Life’s Not Fair, and Neither is God”
Here a some common phrases used by teenagers:
“It’s not my fault…”
“It’s because you don’t like me, isn’t it?”
“You can’t tell me what to do / you’re not the boss of me!”
“It’s my right to _______, you can’t tell me I can’t!”
“That’s not fair!”
Its seems as though even adults have a “It’s not fair” mentality these days. When we say “it’s not fair”, that can be translated into “I’m not getting my way!”
In essence, many of us today have the attitude, “It’s all about me!”
In our culture today it is not at all uncommon to observe people around you everyday that are completely self-absorbed. They live in the “it’s all about me” world. Have you ever been walking to a store from the parking lot in the pouring rain only to have to stop for a person crossing your path in a warm, dry car? While you both needed to get somewhere, they felt that you should stop and stand in the rain so that they could get to their destination (in their dry car) a few seconds sooner. Reality court shows often have cases with a defendant who is being sued for totalling their friends car they borrowed. Their excuse why they shouldn’t have to pay for the car is usually something like, “it’s my friend’s fault for lending me their car.”
A few years ago, I saw a news story on television about a couple of teenage girls who were driving around and saw a 9-yr old girl scout selling cookies. The saw that she had an envelope full of cash and they stopped, jumped out of the car, snatched the envelope and took off. After they were caught and charged, they were interviewed by a reporter. They said they took the money because they wanted to buy things like a necklace and a new phone. They said they knew it was a crime, but that it was an easy crime. One of the girls said that not only didn’t she feel sorry for the little girl scout, but that the girl scout should thank them because she was selling a lot more cookies, thanks to the attention she was getting in the local media due to what the teenage girl and her friend had done. Not only were the two girls without remorse, they were actually irritated because now they had charges against them but they didn’t get to keep the money!
The examples of these types of selfishness are endless. We live in a very egocentric world. However, as Christ-followers we are not to conform to the ways of this world. Ephesians 2:2-3 tells us, “in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” Romans 13:14 says, ” Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Let’s take a look at an example of when someone in the bible thought that “it’s not fair!”:
Jonah 3:3-5 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. 4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Jonah 3:10 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 4:1-10 1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.” 10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”
Jonah was a bit of a slow-learner (not unlike most of us, at times) who was continually thinking about himself. He didn’t want to warn the people of Nineveh, because he didn’t like them and he viewed them as not as good as him. As such, they didn’t deserve to be forgiven and be in God’s good graces like Jonah was (Jonah’s attitude). After the Ninevites repented and turned to God, Jonah reminded God, “See, this is exactly what I told you would happen!” Jonah was infuriated and he let God know it. Have you ever been there? Then God caused a vine to grow up and give shade to his bratty child Jonah in the heat of the day. Interestingly, the scripture never mentions Jonah being thankful to God for the vine. Jonah probably thought God owed it to him to make sure he was comfortable. As a result, when God caused the vine to wither, Jonah got angry, again, and whined to God, again, that things were so bad, he just wanted to die (again). God holds a mirror up to Jonah’s face and let’s him see how selfish and obsurd he is being. Jonah was more concerned with a vine that only lived for a day than 120 souls who could have ended up in Hell for eternity!
There are a couple of things worth noting here. First, as bad as Jonah acted, God still used Jonah to help others, even though he was acting like a selfish jerk. I’m sure God would have been much more pleased if Jonah would have been much less selfish, but the people of Nineveh meant that much to God. Second, God had as much mercy and grace on Jonah, as He did on the Ninevites. Even at the times we find ourselves fighting against God, God is still fighting for us.
When I say, “God isn’t fair” that makes some Christians uncomfortable. Allow me to explain. Here is the definition of the term “fair”:
1) in accordance with the rules or standards
2) just or appropriate in the circumstances
If God is fair, that means that everyone gets what they earn, what they deserve. Let’s take a quick look at what the bible says about what we deserve:
Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death…”
Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin enetered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…”
So basically we deserve to die and to spend eternity in Hell. That’s what God would be obligated to do if he was being “fair”. Instead, Romans 6:23 goes on to tell us “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God is so far beyond just “fair” that we can scarcely comprehend the depth of His love for us!
So the next time you here someone say “life isn’t fair”, remind yourself that God isn’t fair either.