One of my pet peeves is when things aren’t fair. It’s actually funny how fast that gets me going. Even in a computer game. I play an online game that I believe has “balancing” issues, pairing me against players I have no chance with, and dropping me into the game in the worst possible place. I get frustrated for a while, and then I remember that they let me play for free, but to win all the time, I would need to spend money. The imbalance is a design “feature”.
But life, the big things in life, sweeping events of history, social and cultural trends, and opportunities, we tend to believe those should be fair. That may be a classic “Americanism”, honestly. I can claim that, about myself, perhaps. Although, I suspect that other cultures without that sense of “fairness” have lost it due to cynicism, they’ve lost hope.
The reason I suspect this is because of the concept, at least in Western thought, of justice. The statue is a woman, she’s blindfolded, holds an unsheathed sword in one hand and a pair of scales in the other. The ideas embodied in that image are compassion, a refusal to judge by what is seen on the surface, execution of judgement and equality. The blindfold was added later it seems, but the other elements have been around since the Ancient Greeks.
We have reached a point when one of the common lessons we pass on is that “life isn’t fair.” But think about that. Why do we need to teach that? Why is that expectation so deeply ingrained, it’s instinctive. Life is supposed to be fair, and it isn’t. The removal (or suppression) of that instinctive expectation leaves us with this blank, a cipher, a vacuum in our soul abhorred by our human nature.
The question for us all is, “How will we respond to the unfairness of this life?” Will we stop and complain, for a very long time? Will we stuff those feelings, and “soldier on”? Will we weep for what is lost, and seek that which is missing? I believe it’s fair to say that everyone chooses one of those three options, however they define the option or describe the outcome or benefit.
As disciples of Jesus, how are we to respond to the unfairness of this life? Well, consider Jesus, as Paul did, in Philippians 2:5-11.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11 (NASB)
Was it fair that Jesus emptied Himself? Was it fair that the Divine took the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of the creature, though He is the Creator? Was it fair that He humbled Himself becoming obedient to the extreme of death by crucifixion? Was that fair? No. And the sheer unimaginable magnitude of the Divine Creator choosing to endure all of that offsets overwhelmingly the scales of justice. Now it’s unfair, but in our favor.
Really? It doesn’t feel that way when I get up in the morning. It doesn’t feel that way when I watch the news. It doesn’t feel that way when I talk to my family and friends enduring stress. It doesn’t feel as if the scales of justice and fairness have been tipped in my favor. It feels like the opposite, like I’m being oppressed, spiritually and emotionally, if not physically. But the truth is, I’m not being oppressed, in any way.
So, what do we, as disciples of our Divine Savior, do in response to the apparent inequality of this life? The answer found in Scripture, inspired by our Creator who saves us, is this: Hope in Heaven.
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.Hebrews 12:18-24 (NASB)
Do you see the contrast? The world, those outside the kingdom of Jesus, they see the first part, the blazing fire, the whirlwind, the darkness and gloom. It’s still our Creator, but it’s frightening, terrifying in fact. And it is true, He is all of that, and more.
We see the holy city and temple described in the next. We hope in the city with angels the assembly of those called out first, those perfected, and, best of all, our Creator, Savior, and Judge. Our Mediator, the One interceding for us is right there! That is what we hope in, that is why we can endure this life full of inequality, injustice, pain, and death. Those are the hallmarks of the devil, but the hallmarks of our Savior is abundant eternal life (John 10:10).
We, as disciples of Jesus, are to see things differently, act differently, speak differently. But this isn’t just about ourselves. If we see things from the perspective of our Creator, then we are to call out the works of the devil for what they are. We are to be different, and we are not to tolerate evil in silence. We are to speak out as our Savior spoke out while He walked this earth, loving Samaritans, honoring women, and blessing Gentiles. He wasn’t the typical Jewish male. Nor are we to be the typical human where we are.
What can you do in your community to push back against the darkness of the devil’s kingdom with the light of the abundant life of Jesus within you? Do that.