“Life’s not fair.”
Chances are that at some moment, you’ve said this to your child. I know I have. And when we say it, we genuinely want our children to know that life isn’t fair. That you have to make your peace with that or forever be miserable.
And yet . . .
How many times have I complained that my child didn’t get the recognition/award/privilege they deserved? How many times have I ranted against a coach, a teacher, a director that treated my child unfairly? Too many to count!
Several years ago the incongruity of this struck me. While telling my child “life isn’t fair,” I then got all in a wad when things didn’t proceed in a manner I perceived as “fair” for my child. Which would my child incorporate into his/her thinking—my words or my actions? Research and ancient wisdom tell us that actions speak louder than words. The answer is clear.
So I began training myself to view things differently. After all, life isn’t fair. It isn’t any more fair in the adult work than in the kid world. How do I want my adult children to respond to that fact of life?
I want them to trust God’s sovereignty, God’s justice, to believe that God is always working in their lives, through every circumstance. Now I try to approach my feelings of “unfairness” of others toward my child in a different way. I ask the Lord, “What do you want my child to learn from this situation?”
Sometimes that answer is very clear. Sometimes I can see no reason. But either way, I pray. “Lord, open my child’s eyes to whatever it is You want reveal or refine in them through this situation. Let them trust You, even when life isn’t fair or justice seems thwarted.”
Yes, there are still situations that boil my blood, but whenever they crop up, whether in real life or to relive in my mind, I repeat my process, my prayer. Because I don’t want my grown-up children wallowing in the excuse of “unfairness.” I want them walking in the freedom of faith in a God bigger than man’s choices, man’s prejudices, man’s preferences, a God who endured the ultimate “unfairness” in his crucifixion.
I want them to be like Jesus.