Is God Fair?
As a child, I had my own concept of fairness. A spanking was unfair! Well, not every time. My mother telling me how disappointed she was in me was really playing dirty. Taking away what I judged as rights which were actually privileges was totally unfair. My father’s and mother’s response to my charges of unfairness was the classic, “life is not always fair, accept that and move on.”
As I matured, I accepted that people were sometimes unfair and learned to live with it. I still struggled with God’s fairness. He is God so He should always be fair! In the fifth grade my good friend, Jerry, died. He and his father were shooting roman candles around Christmas time. Jerry’s father held the candle by the stick to light it. Jerry copied him only to have the stick fire back into his abdomen. He was treated at the emergency room and released. A few days later Jerry died from an infection. As I looked at Jerry lying in the casket I thought “Why God?” Jerry’s death was totally unfair!! By my standards God had failed in the fairness department!!
Webster’s definition of fairness as an adjective is in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate. As an adverb means it is without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage. We each have our own version and standards of fair.
Webster’s definitions don’t always match ours. We develop our own set of standards from life’s experiences. We at times even try to judge God’s fairness by our own standards. Do we have a right to judge God’s fairness? No, He’s God! He is the standard! God should not and cannot held to our standards.
Jesus is God’s son, and He did not try to judge God’s fairness. In the face of the awful death He was facing, He did ask God to deliver Him but there was no charge of unfairness. There was no whining. Jesus knew that whether it was fair or not he had to endure for our sakes!
Recently I experienced the God is “unfair” attitude with one of my CASA boys. I asked him and the foster parent at the end of our visit if we could pray. The foster parent said “yes” but the boy gave an emphatic “NO”. God had let his Nana die. Nana had taken care of him and acted as his parent. That was unfair and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with God. He is angry with God, the foster parent, me and you if you met him!
Since that meeting I’ve thought about how I could answer the teenager to hopefully help him. I have struggled for a long time with the charges that God is unfair. So what should I say to people who have that attitude? Sometimes it just takes a great deal of faith and trust to live with God’s ways. Accepting God’s decisions can be very difficult, and our faith is the one thing that pulls us through.
The author, Daniel Darling, from NRB wrote an article Is God Fair? Maybe Not, but He's Right. Mr. Darling writes about the parable in Matthew 20 where the workers that came in the last hour of the day received the same pay as those that started work the first hour. As you read what he has to say, think about your attitude.
Mr. Darling: “Sadly, many Christians in America, walk around feeling as though they’ve been cheated. They ask questions like, “Why can’t I be healthy like others?” or “Why does God allow him or her to be married?” or “Why couldn’t have I been born into a wealthy family?”
“Unfortunately, the church itself has become an unwitting accomplice in this unbiblical thought process. We’ve tried to market Christianity as the better alternative, where life will be more successful. This may be true, but we must realize that Christianity is not about benefiting and taking and getting more of what we want out of a cosmic, vending-machine God. It’s about worshipping a God who has given us far more grace than we deserve. It’s about following the example of Jesus in sacrificing for the good of others.”
“We should view everything we’ve got in life as a gift from God, not complain when things don’t go our way. Because thankfully, we don’t have a God who is fair, but a Heavenly Father who is always right.”
“Grace gives us the proper perspective on life’s seeming injustices. As hard as it is to fathom, the most tragedy-struck Christian has tasted overwhelming amounts of God’s grace. More than even that soul deserved.”
“So if we were to be completely honest, we wouldn’t want God to be fair. If He was, then He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to pay for our sins and we would be bound for a hopeless eternity. And He wouldn’t walk beside us daily, giving us strength. He wouldn’t extend His hand of forgiveness when we fail.”
“Instead, we should be glad we serve a God who is right. Because we’re not getting what we deserve. Nobody who walks this earth is. Instead, we’re getting something far greater. His grace.”
Recently, I quoted a prayer from Allen Jackson where he says to God “you’ve never failed me.” Can you say Amen to that? I try to say that but do not always make it. We need to practice what Mr. Darling writes, keep our perspective and have the same attitude as Mr. Jackson.
“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” ― Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones: Everyone Needs a Miracle – Used by permission
Daniel Darling, NRB Is God Fair? Maybe Not, but He's Right. Used by permission.
Standing Firm Allan Jackson - Intend Publishing – 2018 – Used by permission