When God is Not Fair
(Photo by Rob from Sydney, Australia (CC-BY-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Fast forward to today and ask yourself how it hits you when:
- A coworker gets a raise but you do more work—or perhaps, his work?
- A neighbor decorates her home from an unrestricted budget and you’re gluing the peeling wallpaper back on the wall?
- Your job reduces your salary because of the economy, but another business gives raises and bonuses?
We find ourselves kids again pouting around the Christmas tree.
There’s a reason Scripture has to command us not to covet. It’s in our nature. It’s systemic. If we can’t have more than others, at least we want it equal.
But less than others? Uh, no. That’s not fair.
What Unfairness Does to Us
Unfair situations do more than aggravate our sense of justice. They also pierce the thin veneer of our humility and ooze from us a stinking pride called jealousy.
Like the day laborers in Jesus’ parable—hired at the beginning of the day—we resent the privileged loafer on whom the landowner dotes (Matthew 20:1-15). Even though we get paid a full day’s wage for our work, we begrudge the fact that someone else gets the same for sitting on their duff all day.
As we read Jesus’ parable, we line up in agreement with those who protest the inequitable pay.
We’ve all experienced it. We hate unfairness. It’s just so . . . well, not fair.
Perspective Helps Us Deal with What’s Unfair
But we must recognize that from God’s perspective, we represent those hired at the end of the day—those who got something for nothing. As we stand before the Father, we receive His generosity—not His equity.
“God seems unfair. But considering His grace in our lives, we should be grateful He is.” (Tweet that.)
God has doted on us far, far more than we deserve. So, we see that when it comes to God’s grace in our lives, His unfairness works to our advantage.
But what about when God gives others more? Consider the question as if from God (that was Jesus’ point, by the way):
“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” —Matthew 20:15
He simply applies a different measure of grace to different people—for His sovereign purposes. But it’s grace all the same.
What unfair experiences have you had? How did you deal with it?