“It’s not fair!”
That’s one of the first things we learn to say as children. Kids say it when they don’t get dessert. They say it when their portions at the dinner table seem too small, or, with vegetables, when the portion seems too big. Kids instinctively tell you “It’s not fair” when they have to come inside from playing, when they have to give back a toy, when they can’t return home past midnight as teenagers. “It’s not fair” is one of the first things we say on this planet. And we probably feel it even before we learn to say it.
It’s also one of the things we continue to feel most strongly and (for some of us) say most loudly as adults. We feel like our jobs are not fair; the pay is not fair; the level of taxation for us (or for others) is not fair. If we get scammed into a timeshare or loan money to a friend and never get it back; if we get hung up by customer service or the steak comes back medium rare instead of well done—most of us go through life feeling and thinking that a whole bunch of things are unfair.
And sometimes they aren’t. There is real injustice in the world. I’m not discounting that for a second. I’m not suggesting we can’t do anything ti improve our lot in life. We should want our laws and judicial system and standards to be fair. I’m not suggesting we just “take it” every time we face injustice. There are genuine incidences of unfairness in our lives.
But it’s still now way to look at the whole world. Some of us–whether we have experienced real unfairness or not–look at all of life through this lens of fairness. We are always assessing what we really deserve. We are always aware of other people’s successes or failures. We are always cognizant of whether we get recognized or ignored. We see the whole world and experience all of life through this lens of fairness—always sizing up, always calculating, always feeling like we are owed something by our friends, by our family, and by God.
But there’s another way to look at the world, another way to experience life, and that’s through the lens of grace. With these glasses on you’ll reckon that most days are a whole lot better than you deserve. And on the really hard days, you’ll fight to believe that God is working even this for good. With the glasses of grace, you’ll smile when other people succeed. Instead of experiencing life as a series of disappointments and occasions where you were not given the treatment you deserve, you’ll experience life as a gift. You’ll see grace all around you. You’ll celebrate the grace you see in someone else or given to someone else. It’s a profoundly different way of viewing the world.
When you look at life with nothing but fairness goggles, you will constantly feel like you’ve been put in last place when you deserved to be first. But when life is seen through the glasses of grace, you’ll learn the joy of feeling like you’ve been put first even when you know you are last.