That’s Not Fair

“Hey! That’s not fair!!!”

It’s seems that as a society we have bought into this idea that things ought to be fair.

We protest loudly when we perceive this value to be infringed upon. It’s like we have a constitutional right as an American….or even more, a God-given right as a person…to be treated fairly.

This leads to all sorts of problems…especially in marriage.

If Kara borrows my keys and they go missing, the default answer from her is “I gave them back to you.” If I borrow her keys and they go missing, her default answer is “You lost my keys!”

“Hey! That’s not fair!!!”

If I don’t hear something Kara says, it’s because I wasn’t listening. If Kara doesn’t hear something I say, it’s because I was mumbling.

“Hey! That’s not fair!!!”

And on and on we could all write out the lists for one another. All those places where we become offended because we hold one another to a different standard than we hold ourselves.   

You know what I mean:  it’s all those times you’ve said, “If I treated her the way she treats me….” or “if he just expected from himself the things he expects from me….”  We have those running monologues in our heads that point out when we are being mistreated.  The words come in many ways, but the message is clear: “That’s not fair!”

Well, I have some news for you….life’s not fair.

Marriage is not fair.  And, it’s okay that its not fair…in fact, it’s more than ok…its right!

Nowhere are we ever promised fairness. The expectation of fairness is a lie that we tell ourselves in order to protect ourselves.

Fairness is life lived to the standard of self, but as Christ followers we are called to a higher standard. We are called to a standard of others.

Fairness says to treat others the way they treat you. But the Bible teaches in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Fairness is about equality. Evenness.  If you take something of mine, I get to take something of yours. But the Bible says in Luke 6:29 “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

We’d be fine with Jesus’s words if we were the one who took the coat…we only took it because we were cold and you had an extra….probably had an extra shirt too.  We would justify that your having two coats was not fair anyway.  In our selfishness, we even find a way to tilt fairness further toward self.

My fairness says I get what I desire, and you get what you deserve.

But fairness doesn’t work that way….it wouldn’t be fair.

Fairness says that we both will get what we having coming. Fairness rules at the expense of grace and mercy. Fairness is not kind….its cold. Fairness would have never allowed an innocent Jesus to die on the cross for guilty man. Thankfully, life is not fair and God is not fair (But God is just).

Sacrificial love is never fair but it is always right.

Fairness is really just selfishness. As husbands and wives, we have been called to a higher standard than the fair standard of self. We have been called to the others’ oriented standard of love.

So, that’s all well and good…But, if Kara expects me to answer when she calls, shouldn’t she answer when I call? NO!

“Hey! That’s not fair!!!”

You’re right; it’s not fair. And, that’s the point.

Fairness makes no room for God-designed differences. Kara and I are not the same. Our gifting and talents are different. Our struggles and challenges are different.

In our relationships with others, and especially in our marriages, these ‘not fair’ moments provide us with wonderful opportunities to die to self and to be more Christ like as we choose to value each other in love.  

When life happens and I think “Hey! That’s not fair,” what I should really be thinking is “Hey! I am being selfish!”

One Comment on “That’s Not Fair

  1. I had a discussion with a coworker about the difference between fair and equal. Sort of like the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Similar, and totally not the same thing. Consideration for the other is important, especially in those areas where they need it. Each partner “needs” different things. Somethings you need from me I don’t need back from you. that is caring for your partner, and that level of understanding takes some time. Even when we’ve learned it, sometimes we fail at it, and forgiving each other is also essential. Each marriage is unique, like each person is. Good read!

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