Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Found God In UN-Fairness...

Our church is doing a sermon series on Six Things I Want My Children To Remember. This past Sunday, the discussion focused on Life Isn't Fair!

I thought it was very interesting that, apparently, nowhere in the bible, does God say that life will be fair for each of us... God tells us that He will be there for us, that He is with us, that we can turn to Him in times of trouble. He does not say that he will make life fair and square for each of us!

I remember that when I whined as a kid about something being unfair, my Mom would always say, "Life were fair, I'd look like Bo Derek!" Boy, she sounded like a broken record after awhile (and I didn't even know who Bo Derek was anyway), but that lesson was demonstrated to me throughout my life, over and over. I'm sure you can find many examples in your own lives when you felt that life wasn't treating you fairly - and life will continue to be that way. Learning to accept and move on with your life when unfair things happen to you is a critical skill to surviving this world!

During the Sunday sermon, my thoughts flitted to my LEAST favorite story of the Bible... the
story of the prodigal son. I know and understand the main points to the story:
  1. That God will take you back no matter how far you stray,
  2. That forgiveness will be extended to you when you ask for it,
  3. That if God can forgive even your greatest transgression, surely, you could forgive your own neighbor for a wrong-doing.
However, I always found this story frustrating... because in my life, I would consider myself to be "the other brother..."

"The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said, 'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!"
Luke 15: 28-30 The Message

I've often felt like that "other brother" felt... anger and aggravation towards another who flaggrantly disregarded "the rules," did whatever he or she wanted, and then expected to be "saved" again and again when it didn't work out. I struggle with this story often because of those feelings. But this sermon on unfairness spoke to me... It wasn't "fair" that the prodigal son could squander away his inheritance and still be welcomed back with as much love as the son who stayed and toiled for his father.

BUT, perhaps forgiveness is more important (and more valuable) than fairness.

And if we're whining to God, the Father, about life not being "fair" - instead of my Mom's answer of "If life were fair, I'd look like Bo Derek," couldn't you imagine God frowning at us and saying (in a Godly-way, of course!):

"If life were fair, then my perfect, SINLESS Son would not have been
and crucified
to ensure your eternal life!"

Kind of hard to argue with that logic, isn't it?! :)

BECAUSE life wasn't fair,
BECAUSE Jesus took our sins upon His shoulders,
BECAUSE He gave up His life for us...

WE are given the amazing gift of eternal life.
WE are forgiven.

THANK GOD that life isn't fair!
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Heather said...

That is so, so true, Mags. I've seen the "older brother" in myself sometimes too. It is easy to feel cheated somehow to have been faithful the entire time and see someone who has not receive a similar reward. I know that is just my own pride and jealousy though and really without our Savior, I would be unworthy myself. And really I have been blessed by making better choices in the first place--I haven't had to travel the long way back from serious sin and I haven't had to eat with the pigs!

If you feel like reading it, I heard a wonderful talk a few years ago that spoke specifically about the "other prodigal" (the older brother). Just google "Jeffrey Holland The Other Prodigal" I tried to put a link, but it wouldn't work right.

Heather said...

Your mom cracks me up, btw.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I've been struggling with feelings of being the prodigal son's older brother for the past several days. It does help to remember that maybe Jesus felt some of the same while he was being punished for our sins (he was fully man as well as being fully diving, after all) and somehow He found the grace to get past that. Maybe He can help me find the grace to get past it too. And that's surely what it's gonna take is grace. Thank you for being part of God's helping me through this by your wonderful post.