“That Wasn’t Fair.”


Fairness is encouraged in the classroom, and at home, and has fostered the belief in some people that life should be fair all the time.  The criminal mind tends to harbor a grudge for a past injustice, real or perceived, for years – and at the right moment, take steps to “even the score.”  Vengeful behavior may also be targeted at people who seem to have gotten more than they deserve. People with this mindset will believe they put in equal or more effort, and should have gotten at least the same if not more.  They keep score, and may steal or destroy the property of others to even things up.

Others become angered, and may even turn to violence, when they perceive a person didn’t get what they deserve or got less than they deserve, perhaps, in the courtroom. One of their family members may have been the victim of a crime, and their friends encouraged them to be patient and let the law handle it.  Then, to their dismay, the charges were dropped due to a technicality, or the perpetrator got off with a simple “slap on the wrist.” 

A person with the “life should be fair” mindset may decide to take the law into their own hands, rather than waiting on God to take care of the injustice. They may execute what they consider to be a fair punishment themselves, or find/hire someone else to do it. This isn’t a new idea. In America, this practice started back during the time of the “Old Wild West”, when the nearest sheriff may have been a day’s ride away. Lynching parties were common for horse thieves. And hired guns were a commodity for the filthy rich. Today there are still vigilantes, terrorists, and mercenaries who will “take care of business” for a price. 

The spiritual issue with always wanting life to be fair is that it tempts us to let anger, resentment, and bitterness take up residence in our heart.  Anger itself isn’t a sin, but venting our anger can be destructive. We need to learn to wait on God, and seek His perspective on the situation.

1. When someone is operating under this thinking error, vengeful behavior may be targeted at ….

2. The theological truth about the thinking error called “The Fallacy of Fairness” is found in Ecclesiastes 8:14.  It says that there are 2 seemingly unjust things in life:

3. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “I also saw other things in this life that were not fair. The fastest runner does not always win the race; the strongest soldier does not always win the battle; wise people don’t always get the food; smart people don’t always get the wealth; educated people don’t always get the praise they deserve. When the time comes, bad things can happen to anyone” (ERV).

What does this verse say about whether life is fair or not?


4. Read John 10:10. 
  a) What does the thief come to do?
  b) Who is the thief?
  c) When a person kills, steals, or destroys to even the score, whose work are they doing?

5. In the story of Cain and Abel, we find first story recorded in the Bible where a person who thought, “That wasn’t fair,” acted on his feelings.   Read Genesis 4.
  a) Why did Cain and Abel bring sacrifices to God? (Num. 18:12, 17; Lev. 3:16; Rev. 13:8)
  b) Why did Cain kill Abel?
  c) Why did God prefer the sacrifice of Abel? 
  d) How did Abel offer his sacrifice “by faith?” (See Heb. 9:22 and 11:4)
  e) How did God punish Cain?

6. We already studied in Chapter 4 how Joseph handled himself in unfair situations.  Now let’s study Moses’ reaction to an unfair situation.  Read Exodus 2:11-12 and then Acts 7:24-25.
  a) What did Moses observe that was unfair?
  b) How did Moses handle the situation?
  c) Did Moses sin?
    Moses sinned because he committed murder.
    Moses sinned because he did not wait on God to handle the matter.
    Moses committed two sins, first because he committed murder and also because he did not wait on God to handle things.
    Neither of the above, because Moses knew his calling was to lead Israel from Egypt and the bondage of Pharaoh.

7. Matthew 20:1-16 demonstrates “The Fallacy of Fairness” mindset perfectly.
  a) What did the landlord promise to pay the first group he hired?
    (vs. 2)
  b) What did he promise to pay those whom he hired later? 
    (vs. 4-5)
  c) How much did he pay the men who had worked only one hour?
    (vs. 9)
  d) How much did those who had worked all day receive?
    (vs. 10)
  e) Were all the workers happy with their pay?  Did this seem fair to them? 
  f) Was the landowner unfair in the way he treated the all-day workers?
    (vs. 12-15)

8. This parable leads to a question for all of us today.  How should a Christian respond when treated unfairly, especially on the job? Is it wrong to defend yourself or to stand up for your rights?  That is the question Peter addresses in 1 Peter 2:18-24.
  a) To whom are employees to be subject?
  b) How are they to respond to both good and bad bosses?
  c) Summarize what you learn about suffering and/or being treated unfairly in verses 19-24. 
    i) How is a believer to respond to suffering?
    ii) How should you respond when you are treated unfairly?
    iii)  How does God view a proper response to suffering?
    iv) How did Jesus respond when He was punished unfairly for our sins?

9. What advice would you give a person operating under the “That Wasn’t Fair” thinking error?

Continue to Chapter 6

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