As I’ve got older I have become increasingly attached to the phrase ‘it is what it is’. Sometimes it’s said in recognition, sometimes in resignation. Usually it’s because something happened that’s outside my control; it may not be fair but there’s nothing I can do to change it.
Why can’t life be fair?
Life is fair in the movies. Life is fair with karma. Life is fair in the imaginary ideal of the world we have in our minds. But life is full of unfair moments… genocide, cancer, murder and racism graduating all the way to hair loss, team loss and of course, you always seem to choose the slowest checkout line. And life isn’t equal for all us… intelligence, place of birth, athleticism, gender, sexuality, etc. all have an impact on what we deem fair.
As a Christian, I recognize that life isn’t fair. I’ve experienced some unfairness. Our world has been impregnated with evil, spreading unfairness into its nooks and crannies. We see its impact on the news, we experience it in our everyday lives; heck, even my kids hate me sometimes.
I don’t want to diminish the pain of the unfairness you’ve experienced, it hurts and grieving is almost certainly required. And I don’t believe unfairness is a blessing in disguise. But perspective provides me with some comfort. I have a worldview that says the fairness in life cannot be evaluated by a single event. I have learned to step back further and further from the situation, even beyond the span of my one life, so I can put it into context.
My viewpoint allows me to believe that evil is ultimately being replaced by love; that unfairness is being overwhelmed by fairness—evidenced through justice, grace and self-sacrifice.
The word ‘fairness’ comes from the Old English word fæger, that means “pleasing and attractive”; a thing of physical beauty. I see this practiced through folks who commit their lives to bringing justice, through folks who sacrifice and share the fairness dealt to them. I see it through friends who would do anything, anytime for me and my family, and I am encouraged.
This physically beautiful expression of love continues to affirm for me that there is a loving God, who is actually fair, and that life is fair—we just need a wider view of life; and continue to work toward making life fairer where we can.
This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Or, if you’d like to hear some overall thoughts on God and the unfair realities of life from Christians at THRED, you can find those over here.