Counter Culture: Responding to Unfairness
How should we respond to unfairness in life? The world says get even. But, what does God say?
Here are three ways Christians are called to respond to unfairness, all of which are counter culture.
1. ACCEPT IT GRACEFULLY
With God's grace. Don't be surprised when people treat you unfairly. Jesus said it's going to happen. He said, "In the world you will have trouble.” And we live in a fallen world. The Bible tells us this,
1 Pet 4:13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
He's saying we cannot prevent people from hurting us. We're going to be hurt. But we can choose our response. Use it as an opportunity to develop character.
2. RESPOND LOVINGLY
Respond particularly to the people who hurt you. Respond to the offender lovingly. When somebody hurts us, they expect us to retaliate. They expect us to seek revenge. When somebody hurts us they expect us to fight back and try to hurt them. God says, "I want you to do the exact opposite thing of what they expect. You take the moral high ground." Instead of returning evil for evil, bad for bad, He says, "I want you to not try to get even, but you take the moral high ground and you return love to the very people who hurt you, who are unfair to you."
Matthew 5:44 love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Why do you do that? Because God tells you to, and because it keeps them from controlling you. I can't control the unfairnesses that happens to me, but I'm not going to be a bitter person. I'm not going to let the person control my emotions through resentment or hatred. So I'm going to choose to respond in a loving way. When I say respond to an offender lovingly, that does not mean you continue to allow injustice. On the contrary, we are to lovingly seek justice. We are to work for justice in the world without retaliating, without getting revenge, without seeking to get even and without seeking to hurt the people that have hurt us. Lovingly seek justice.
A good example would be Martin Luther King who said we're not going to fight the evil people who have done things to us. We are going to use non violent confrontation. Passive loving resistance. We are going to overcome evil with good. That's what it means to be like Jesus Christ. As Christians we have to fight for justice.
Jeremiah 22:3 Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors.
We are to be more concerned about justice for others than for ourselves.
Proverbs 29:7 The godly care about the rights of the poor;
He's saying even when everybody else around you is unfair, you be fair. Even when everybody else around you is ripping off each other, society, the government and anybody else, you maintain your integrity. You take the moral high ground. You be fair.
3. I WAIT FOR GOD'S HELP EXPECTANTLY
When we are going through an unjust period, God is on our side. There is no sin that God judges harsher, except maybe pride, than that of injustice. All through the Bible, God says, "I cannot stand it when people are treated unjustly, unfairly. I will defend the oppressed. I will care for those who are treated unfairly." All through scripture, God has a special heart for people who are treated unfairly. He is a God of justice. He hears your cry and He sees your pain and He knows you were slighted hurt, put down. You didn't get what you thought you deserved. But He has a plan.
Life is kind of like photography. You start with a negative, but you can develop it into a positive. When you take a picture, you don't have a picture -- all you have is a negative. How do you turn a negative into a positive? You take it into a development room and shine a light through it onto some photographic paper and it becomes a positive. When you shine the light on it you get a full color picture.
You have been dealt some negatives in life. But when you shine the light of God's love through your circumstance and you begin to see what God is doing, that He's working on your character. He can turn it into a beautiful picture. You can develop a beautiful picture with the light of God's love in your life. If you don’t, you will become bitter, cynical, sarcastic and mean spirited. So what does God want me to do while I'm waiting on Him to settle the score?
1 Peter 4:19 if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
We're never going to get an explanation for a lot of things that have happened in our life that we feel are unfair -- at least not in this life. When we get to heaven we will understand what's going on. For now, all we need to know is God loves me, God has my best interest at heart, God has a plan, God is going to settle the score one day, If I trust Him and maintain a right attitude, He's going to reward me eventually. God is faithful.