“It’s not fair” is something I hear often when my grandchildren are visiting. This is usually uttered with a whine when one child thinks his or her sibling has been allowed to do or have something which they have not.

My reply is usually an attempt to help them understand that life is not “fair” and they need to understand that reality.

It is not fair that one person…
• is born into poverty and another into wealth.
• just looks at food and gains pounds while another person eats everything they want and never gains an ounce.
• is genetically pre-disposed to bad health and another seems to be healthy as a horse with no effort.
It is not fair that …
• some people are intellectually gifted and others are mentally challenged.
• hundreds of drivers speed along the expressway above the legal limit but I am the one who gets a ticket.
• some folks seem to get all the breaks and others don’t seem to have a chance.

If you are an Atlanta Braves fan, you know that Evan Gattis, Tyler Pasternicky, and Ramiro Pena are rookies who have made significant contributions to the team this year but each has spent time on the Disabled List due to injuries, some very serious. Add these to Tim Hudson’s season ending broken ankle and Jason Heyward’s broken jaw after being hit in the face with a 90 MPH pitch just when he was at his best. It doesn’t seem fair.

“Life is given to each of us. We each get one shot at this sucker, and we are never really told that it will be fair. We each get one life, one daily wage, and that’s it. The guy next door gets one life to live. The mom down the street gets one too. No one ever promised us the same life, the same opportunities, the same blessings, or the same time to live. No one ever promised that. We are promised one opportunity, one life, and how we live it is between us and our Creator. There is no comparing.” (Susan Niebur, Toddler Planet)

Mark Banschick, M.D, writing in Psychology Today says “… there are times that I think that the word ‘fair’ is just another nasty four letter word. There is hurt in the notion of fair. Sometimes there is value in holding onto a sense of justice (that your world should be fair) and sometimes you must be adult enough to give it up.”

“Scratch the surface of a religion, get away from the children’s stories, and sometimes you can find a wisdom that is a source of its greatness. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the author is the wisest of men who tells us that life just happens and that even he with all his learning cannot fathom it.”

The parable of the workers in the vineyard in the Bible (Matthew 20) is difficult for some to understand and accept. People who were hired at different times of the day all received the same pay. Those who started work early thought they should have received more than those who came on later. But each one received what they had been promised. What’s wrong with getting what you have been promised?

We are not promised a life that is fair but we do have Jesus’ promise that it can be full. (John 10:10). I’ll take “full” over “fair.” How about you?

Jamie Jenkins