Life Is Not Fair
A huge turning point in my life was when I accepted that life is not fair. I was 33, a slow learner. Perhaps it took so long because my mother often chided the older kids in our family about being fair, in regards to our younger siblings. It got stuck in my head that things should be fair.
There was a big difference in how us three older kids were treated, compared to the younger ones. The younger siblings were our stepfather's children. They were treated with much more patience and kindness. There was none of the negativity associated with them that oppressed us older children due to the sins of our biological father.
So, we three older siblings grew up resenting the injunction to be fair, while at the same time, we were treated unfairly. My younger brother, in particular, had a huge chip on his shoulder because of this, and he got into quite a lot of trouble railing against unfairness, as he took his anger towards our parents and aimed it at the government.
I chose a different path. I became a Christian when I was seventeen, knew right away that I had to forgive my stepfather for his abuses, and God gave me grace to do it quickly. It took a lot longer to forgive my mother for not living up to my expectations. She had drilled it into us that our stepfather didn't have to love us because we were not his own children. So, I expected a lot more from her because I was her flesh and blood.
Another important relationship formed in my life when I started to date the man I eventually married. Before we married, he made a promise to stop drinking alcohol, which he broke, and he made vow at the wedding altar in regards to not committing adultery, which he also broke. Our marriage lasted ten years. I was devastated when it ended. I became ill, my ex-husband got custody of our children, and then he took off to another province so that I could not have any contact with them.
I had a nervous breakdown because all the instances of injustice became too heavy for me to bear, but Jesus brought me through that fiery experience and made much blessing come out of it. I think I could have avoided the breakdown, though, if I had accepted earlier that life is not fair, and learned how to navigate around its disappointments.
The turning point came when I phoned my ex–husband, asking to speak to my children. He said that they were in bed. Though they were in a time zone that was one hour ahead, it was still early for kids to go to bed, and I could hear children playing in the background. When I doubted his statement, he growled something at me and then hung up the phone.
I sat there feeling crushed and said aloud to the Lord, "It's not fair!" Jesus firmly replied, "Well, Lanny, life is not fair." That truth finally penetrated my thick skull. Indeed, there have been trillions of instances of injustice over the centuries, most especially in evil things happening to innocent people, and also good things coming into the hands of evil people.
Becoming a Christian certainly did not exempt me from experiencing injustice. In fact, Jesus said that those who follow Him will experience persecution. He is able, though, to give us peace and joy in the midst of it.
And that is what He did for me. When I could accept that life is not fair, it got rid of a lot of the clutter in my mind that prevented me from finding mature ways to deal with bad situations. Thanking Jesus in spite of disappointment was one of the major practices that brought victory into my life. I address this key principle in the article on Ambushes.
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