A few weeks before Christmas, Time magazine began to make a weekly visit to our mailbox. When the first one arrived, I thought it was a mistake. And then the next one came and I noticed I had a year’s subscription and finally I realized someone had gifted me Time magazine for Christmas.
I do not read the magazine on a regular basis in fact hardly at all. But, I decided that since I had received it as a gift, I really should take time to page through it. And while it has been only a few issues I have seen, there seems to be a major theme surrounding most of the articles. We live in a world that is unfair.
There is truth in that. Not all opportunities seem open to all. There are judgements made based only on race, gender or long-held false beliefs. If you happen to be of a certain age group you get treated one way. But if you are too young or too old, it is different. And more often today, if you believe in Jesus, you are one of “those” people who live by outdated standards and believe in a myth. Or there are less important “unfair” examples like Tom Brady getting to the Super Bowl yet again. (Just not too proud of that admission!)
There is the unfairness that comes from within. I am “too tall, short, fat, skinny, ugly to be loved by anyone.” Whatever I try I will always fall short because I have no talent and everyone is better than me. That is just not fair.
When I feel unfairness in my life I can become fearful. I am afraid because I think I am missing out on something, or someone is getting something I want or I am less than most people and I cannot change. And if I let the fear continue to fester, I reach a crossroads with two paths–anger or depression. One path results in striking out in some way against those who I think have wronged me. The other, shutting myself off from whoever I can to hide from my feelings.
In the past, these were prime excuses to drink. I was in a place where I sought only to change the way I felt, not deal with the issues that were bothering me. And I have to admit that I can still get to that crossroad even this far into recovery from alcoholism. Sometimes I feel the fear spreading through me. But without the influence of the drug, I can follow a third path to deal with my fear–the example Jesus set for me.
Even if I did not believe he is the Son of God, and his life had a purpose beyond his 33 years here on earth, I would have to admit Jesus was the target of unspeakable unfairness. He was tried in the middle of the night by the Sanhedrin which was illegal according to their own rules. He was found guilty by the testimony of supposed witnesses who did not agree on what they said. After that he was found to have “no guilt” by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor and still he was put to death. Imagine the field day the press would have with that in 2018. (For Jesus’ response you will have to read on.)
But Jesus IS the Son of God. He came to earth to pay for all of my sins to give me eternal life. He led the perfect life I cannot and then suffered the punishment for all of the sins of all people for all time. And yet his own disciples abandoned him–one even betrayed him.
And still I too continue to sin. I do not trust he will deal with my problems in his time and I become impatient. I do not thank him for all I have but instead try to take the credit. Jesus felt the rejection of his own people and being God, knew of how I would treat him in my life. His response to all this unfairness? Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)
Jesus response was one of love. His is not the human love with all the strings attached. Rather it is the love as described in 1 John 4:16-18 We also have come to know and trust the love that God has for us. God is love. There is no fear in love, but complete love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who continues to be afraid has not been brought to the goal in love. (EHV)
If I know the love God has for me as shown through the sacrifice of his own Son, I can forgive the unfairness because I have nothing to fear. He sent his Son to die for me–he will get me through this. Now I am free to address the issue without fear or anger or even depression coloring the issue. That may even mean that I accept what is happening as just a difference between my situation and someone else’s.
My world may not seem unfair at times. However, as my wife often says “God sees.” I cannot control how others act or what they say. I can turn to the Bible to be reminded of how much he loves me and takes care of me. There is no need for fear. God is already working on the solution.
Come on back some time and read about how I am working on this. I will wait you.
The following powerful video addresses some very serious issues–cancer, bullying and suicide– all which can can result in feelings of unfairness and fear. And the answer is the same for these people as it is for me–God’s complete love.