Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #8: Fairness

blog.001

The Bible is very specific: this is not heaven, it is not a perfect world. There are things that are unfair. There is injustice. This is not the way God designed it or wanted it. It was created perfect. But, because of sin, the world is now an imperfect, broken place until Christ returns and redeems it.

If you ever want to do any in depth study on this subject, you need to go study the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon had achieved wisdom and riches and many of the things we spend our life trying to achieve. He takes a step back and looks at everything in life. And he’s left wanting, He even calls it meaningless. Throughout that journey he gives five little snapshots of life that show typical, common occurrences of unfairness in the world. 


Life Is Unfair

First, he’s noticed that criminals go unpunished.

“Throughout the earth, justice is giving way to crime and even the courts are corrupt.”  Ecclesiastes 3:16 TLB

“When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.” Ecclesiastes 8:11 NLT

This could not be any more relevant than it is today. Given enough money, you can beat any inditement today,  all you have to do is hire the right attorney and they’ll find some technicality to get you off the charge. Solomon sees that criminals go unpunished while victims and their families suffer.

He also notices the oppressed are unhelped in the world.

“Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world. The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them. No one would help them, because their oppressors had power on their side.” Ecclesiastes 4:1 GNT

History is a record of the fact that it is human nature for human beings to try to dominate each other. You can see it throughout the history of the world. The powerful try to dominate the weak.

Even today, the wars we see in our society are basically wars of oppression. Many of these oppressed martyrs in the world are Christians. In certain places you can be killed for claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Solomon observes that nobody seems to be helping these people.

Then he says, exhibit number three: politicians are unethicalIllegal fund raising, cover ups, scandals, lying about your opponent… it’s nothing new.

If you see… miscarriage of justice anywhere throughout the land, don’t be surprised! For every official is under orders from higher up, and the higher officials look up to their superiors. And so the matter is lost in red tape and bureaucracy. Ecclesiastes 5:8 TLB

“There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth.” Ecclesiastes 10:5-6 NLT

To be clear, there are some godly, political leaders. However, often times we look at the elections we have at the local, state and federal level and think, surely there’s got to be more choices than this…

We’re giving great authority to foolish people. The Bible says when ungodly people hold positions of authority they are going to abuse it and Solomon says that’s unfair.

Exhibit number four, good people go unrewarded while evil people often prosper.

“There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 8:14 NIV

Does it ever bother you that dishonest people get promoted while honest people are overlooked?  Have you ever been to a funeral of a good person, a young person and think, “Why did they die?” 

“Some of the good die young and some of the wicked live on and on.” Ecclesiastes 7:15

Another thing he notices is that capable people are often unsuccessfulJust because you’ve got talent doesn’t mean you’re going to succeed. The good guys don’t always win in this world. 

“The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT

We all know bright, educated, hard working people who barely get by financially. Yet we know about these bums who inherit millions and then aren’t even grateful for it. In our society, the biggest salaries don’t go to the smartest people. In our culture we pay unnecessary professions more than we pay teachers who train our kids.

Solomon says, the bottom line is life isn’t fair. Capable men and women don’t always rise to high positions. People sometimes don’t get promoted because of the color of their skin or their gender or their belief in Jesus Christ and that’s unfair and it’s wrong.

We all ask, why God doesn’t do something about the injustice in this world? The Bible says that there is injustice in the world, for a time, for some reasons.


Why Doesn’t God Do Something About Injustice?

1. Because God gives us the freedom to choose

In the very first chapters of the Bible we have the story of creation. God creates man in His own image. That means you, as a human being, are different from the animals. God gave you a spirit which gives you the ability to have a relationship with God.

Another way you’re made in God’s image is you have the freedom to make moral choices. You can choose between right and wrong. Animals cannot do that. Animals can choose only by instinct, between survival and death. They cannot choose morally between what’s right and what’s wrong.

“’I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!’” Deuteronomy 11:26 NLT

That’s the good news. The bad news is there are consequences to our choices, and we often make selfish choices. When we do that, innocent people get hurt and that’s unfair. 

There is an assumption with God. We think that in order for God to be good, he must never allow evil. But there’s fallout from that way of thinking:

  1. God would create nothing.
  2. God would create beings with no possibility for moral free will.

In order for God to create beings capable of love, He must also create a world where evil and suffering can exist. He could create a universe with no pain. But you know what else it would be without – mercy, love, compassion, true peace, significance, forgiveness, happiness.

God is putting a group of people together who choose to love Him, not are forced to love Him. You can’t say you love somebody unless you have the choice to not love him or her. You can’t say you are honest until you’ve had the opportunity to be dishonest.

There is injustice when we choose to not do the godly thing. It’s not on God. If we get drunk and get in my car and take the life of another driver, is that God’s fault? No. It’s our fault. God didn’t plan that. It’s the result of an evil choice that we made. 

2. Because God will settle accounts one day

God will do something about injustice. People may not get their justice here on earth, but they will one day. The Bible tells us in the book of Isaiah that God is a God of justice. If we didn’t believe that we would be in absolute despair.

The truth is today, evil people get away with evil things all the time. It would be a travesty if evil dictators who have killed millions just get away with it with no punishment. That is unthinkable. God tells us He is going to be a God of justice. 

“In due season God will judge everything man does, both good and bad.” Ecclesiastes 3:17 TLB

“In due season…” Today is not the end of the story. The final chapter has not been written. The scales of justice have not been weighed. One day there is going to be a judgment day where one day we personally stand before God and give an account of our lives including the good, the bad, and whether we trusted His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior or not. Are we covered by the judgement poured out on Christ, or do we take that on ourselves?

3. Because injustice shows why we need a savior

Injustice shows what we’re really like on the inside. There is a very popular idea going around today that makes us think human beings are basically good its just environment that makes us do bad things.

Anybody who’s had children knows that we are born with a selfish nature. But we want to all think we’re basically good. We’ll admit we have some weaknesses, faults, areas we need to work on, rough edges, and personality quirks. But, we don’t want to call it what it is — sin. 

“God is letting the world go on its sinful way so that he can test mankind, and so that men themselves will see that they are no better than beasts.” Ecclesiastes 3:18 TLB

Human beings without God tend to start acting like animals. We hear the shocking stories of gang rape, abuse, senseless acts of violence in society against innocent people who have no reason to be hurt. There is no way to explain the horrific acts of violence and terror that have happened in our world if we believe human beings are inherently good.

One day when we stand before God and He’s looking at your life, you’re not going to want justice. You’re going to want mercy. Thank God He gives us an opportunity to be saved. None of us have a chance of getting into heaven on our own. Heaven is perfect and alive. We are imperfect and dead. Without the work of the cross, we don’t get into that perfect place.

4. Because how we handle injustice can build character

Not everything bad in life is ultimately bad for you. 

Pain is not without purpose.

It can build character. The Bible tells us many times, suffering produces character. However, suffering does not automatically produce character. It only produces character when you choose to respond to it in the right way. 

A lot of people who’ve suffered a tremendous amount have no Christlike character at all.  Rather, they’re bitter and cynical. Maybe you’ve gone through some things and wondered why God let it happen to you. You feel like you’ve been dealt a bad hand and it just isn’t fair. Everybody has their own story of unfairness, how does God say we can grow our character through those things?


Responding to Unfairness & Injustice

1. Accept it gracefully

Accept injustice with God’s grace in mind. Don’t be surprised when people treat you unfairly. Jesus told us it would happen. 

“‘My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.'” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NCV

You can’t choose whether or not you’ll be hurt in this life. But you can choose your response.

We try to accept it gracefully, rather than becoming bitter. You can’t become like Christ if you don’t have anything in common with him. Use it as an opportunity to have more in common with Christ.

2. Respond lovingly

Respond to the offender lovingly. When somebody hurts you, they expect you to retaliate and fight back. Jesus said it like this in Matthew 5:44 NCV,

“Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.”

Why do you do that? Because it keeps them from controlling you. Great American scientist Booker T. Washington has an amazing quote. As a black man years ago, he went through many injustices and unfairnesses of life. 

“I will never allow another man to control my life by allowing him to make me hate him.” – Booker T. Washington

We don’t have to hate.  That’s a choice. We can’t control the unfairness that happens to us, but we can choose to be a better person, not a bitter person. We don’t let others control our emotions, so we choose to respond in a loving way. 

When you respond to an offender lovingly, that does not mean you continue to allow injustice.  On the contrary, we are to lovingly seek justice. We are to work for justice in the world without retaliating, without getting revenge, without seeking to get even and without seeking to hurt the people that have hurt us.

We will return love to the very people who have done evil to us. That’s what it means to be like Jesus Christ. As Christians we have to fight for justice. We are to be more concerned about justice for others than for ourselves.

“Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!  Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors.” Jeremiah 22:3 NLT

3. Wait for God’s help expectantly

When you are going through an unjust period, God is on your side. All through scripture, God has a special heart for people who are treated unfairly. He is a God of justice.

“A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased.” 1 Peter 2:19 NCV

God hears your cry and He sees your pain and He knows you didn’t get what you thought you deserved. But He has a plan. You can develop a beautiful picture with the light of God’s love in your life.

So what does God want me to do while I’m waiting for him?

“If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4:19 NLT

You’re never going to get an explanation for a lot of things that have happened in your life that you feel are unfair — at least not in this life. When we get to Heaven and everything is made right, we will understand better. 

But even then, God does not owe us an explanation. The good news is, we don’t need an explanation to get on with life. All we need to know is God loves us. God is faithful. He will reward you if you have a right response to the unfairness of life and you continue to be fair no matter what anybody else does.

“These little troubles… are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 PH


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about moral purity. How is your path back to purity going? Have you made any adjustments to your life to have a pure mind and life?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

When everybody else is living for themselves, why should we live any differently? Practicing fairness is foundational to building values into our lives that last. But as we try to be fair, we notice all the injustice in the world. Criminals go unpunished. The oppressed are unhelped. Politicians are unethical. Good people go unrewarded. Capable people are unsuccessful.

We all ask this question at some point in our lives… Why doesn’t God do something about the unfairness and injustice in the world? Is He helpless? Does He not care? Is He unconcerned? No. The Bible says that God allows injustice in the world, for now, for a reason. One, Because God gives us the freedom to choose. Two, because God will settle accounts one day. Three, because injustice shows why we need a savior. Four, because how we handle injustice can build character.

How can we respond to unfairness and injustice? One, accept it gracefully. Two, respond lovingly. Three, wait for God’s help expectantly.

A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased. 1 Peter 2:19 NCV

If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19 NLT

Application

  1. In what ways has God grown your character through an injustice you experienced?
  2. How can God use the pain from your past to help other people?
  3. When have you seen someone respond lovingly in the face of injustice?                                              What impression did it make on you?
  4. What injustices do you wish you had an explanation for?                                                                      How do you feel an explanation would help you?

Tell Someone Else

Prayerfully consider who you could share this message with. You could have a conversation with them around the topic using some questions from these Talk It Over Notes, or you could send them a link to message through rockbrook.org/sermons, the podcast or Rock Brook App.

For Mobile Wallpaper