Is life fair?
Does the Bible teach that it is, or should be?
In my first church, there was a sweet lady named Pam. She was in her mid-to-late 80s with a smile that would light up a room, when she actually flashed it. That wasn’t often because her husband had Alzheimer’s. She paid a person to watch her husband on Sunday morning so she could go to church. That was the only time that little woman took a break from watching her husband, whom I met once and had a faltering conversation with.
After I left that church, I heard her husband died. I was, strangely, relieved for her. Till I heard three months later that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Now, I don’t know all the definitions or example of fairness, but that’s the most crass idea that life isn’t fair that I’ve ever known.
The scriptures are ripe with episodes of unfairness.
If faith was the prescription for success, then what does one do with the idea that all but John of the original apostles were killed for their faith?
What are we to do with the Apostle Paul’s description of his life “after” coming into contact with Jesus? Before Jesus, Paul was a leader in Jerusalem religious circles and a person who was in charge of persecution of these new fangled religious nuts called followers of the way (Christians). After meeting Jesus on a road out of town (to Damascus in what is now Turkey), Paul became the one who was constantly persecuted, beaten, whipped, and eventually killed for his faith.
Now, what degree of fair is that?
What religion says, you follow these ideas and you will get the heck beaten out of you?
OR, you don’t follow these ideas and you can act any way you want?
And you choose the one that gets you persecuted?
That’s Christianity, and it never ever preaches fairness.
What it preaches is grace, which is never deserved.
In February on a beach near the Mediterranean Sea, members of the evil group ISIS took 21 Egyptians and made them fall to their knees.
One by one, 20 Coptic Christian men were ask to reject their belief in Christ or they would be beheaded. One by one they refused. One by one they were killed….in modern day religious persecution no different than that which Paul and Peter died from.
Oh, there were 21 on that beach. Twenty one were kneeling. The final one was not a Christian. But he had watched and heard the 20 men refuse to reject this Jewish man named Jesus.
When the murderers came to him, he said, “Their God is my God,” and he died alongside them.
Is life fair? I came up believing that if you did everything you could to do everything right, at the right time, in the right way, things would go well for you. My experience is that has never been exactly true. There have been plenty of times I’ve been the better candidate at something or other and not gotten that job or that offer or whatever it might be. I’ve also seen much better candidates for whatever than I who didn’t get it, either.
Sometimes you’re in the town down the road that doesn’t get hit by the storm and sometimes you’re in the town that does. Sometimes the car runs off the road and into your bedroom, and sometimes the car spins around and no one is hurt.
Is life fair? Do the scales end up balancing?
No, I’ve found that none of us get what we deserve.
But I’ve also discovered life is filled with mercy that I in no way deserve, either. It is filled with a grace and forgiveness none of us deserve. It is filled with justice that can’t be explained. It is filled with a love and peace that surpass all understanding.
If life was fair, the Savior of the world would not have had to die for what I did.