We hear a lot—especially from young people—about the importance of fairness. At face value this seems like a good ideal to pursue. It is a great starting point, especially when we are contemplating the way we are to treat other people. The problem comes when we start thinking in terms of life not being fair to us personally. When we start down this path, we soon discover entitlement issues are really at the root of what we are clamoring for.
If we erase every link in the chain of logic that we use to explain why something is unjust or unfair to us personally—and do so going all the way back to the beginning of life—we find that we really deserve nothing good. There is one glaring flaw, innate within us from birth, that strips us of any legitimate basis to claim any kind of favor or merit. This flaw is rebellion against God. It comes in the form of a sin nature that none of us have any power over, in and of ourselves.
Being Fair Means Consequences For Sin
It is such a blemish before a holy God, that it takes away the very premise of entitlement to good things or good treatment. What we are entitled to is evil. We are born heirs of every form of it. We are born heirs to sin. Consequently, we are heirs to the reaping of its fruit when it ripens. And the ultimate fruit of it is death—physically and spiritually. Spiritual death ultimately leads to an eternity in hell if it is not remedied before physical death. So to put it bluntly—if life was fair, we would all be facing execution and hell.
Only after we discover this, or perhaps are reminded of this, can we lay down our arrogant attitude and become thankful once more. I know I need this reminder continually.
So yes, life is very unfair. But guess what? It is vastly in our favor! Fairness is just a starting point for the way God handles judgment and the way we should treat one another. We should never go below what is fair in our dealings with one another. God doesn’t in His dealings with us. He makes fairness available to all, but it is not His perfect will. Grace, generosity, favor, blessing and eternal life are the perfect will of God for us in Christ Jesus.
Learning From God’s Standard
So if we glean from this for our own use, in our own relational transactions, we make fairness the foundation of the way we treat others—never going below it. If possible, we choose to go above and beyond it—showering those around us with unmerited blessings if they will receive them. But while doing so, we should never claim we’ve been cheated. All we have is through the grace of God anyway—so let’s be gracious too!
Freely we receive, so freely we should give. I know that is easier said than done. It requires a deep death to what we perceive as our own rights. And it requires a frequent reminder (for me anyway) that life is unfair in our favor if we have the blood of Jesus. Grace, not fairness is God’s standard. Fairness is there to ensure justice is done if all else fails. But the one who has been offended has the discretion to extend mercy and allow it to triumph over judgment. So if we insist on fairness for our own lives, we are really shortchanging ourselves. God has ensured that mercy triumphs over judgment every time for us if we will only receive it.