By Tim Sullivan


When people are faced with a difficult or challenging situation, they often complain (either openly or in the murmurings of the heart) “THIS IS NOT FAIR!” This seems to be particularly true when speaking of my fellow Americans. We are almost offended when things don't go our way.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence announcing the colonies separation from Great Britain. Our right to independence, we asserted, was ordained by God himself.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Most Americans ascribe a biblical importance to America's Founding Fathers, and the documents they wrote. These men are our Isaiahs and Jeremiahs; these documents might well be carved on tablets of stone. It is safe to say our expectations in life have been shaped more by our Constitution and Bill of Rights than any other document, including the Bible. We believe we have a RIGHT to pursue what makes us happy. Our career choices, and our choice of life partners (marital or not) are rooted in our pursuit of happiness. There is almost nothing in life we consider more important than our personal happiness.

In America, keeping a stockpile of weapons and ammunition is not a privilege, it is an inalienable right as defined by the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Interestingly enough, only THREE countries in the world protect their citizens’ right to bear arms in their constitutions: The US, Mexico, and Guatemala. Of the three, the US is the only country that guarantees the right to keep and bear arms with no constitutional restrictions. Most Americans would be surprised to learn this, because as I said before, we think of this as an inalienable right. Take away my gun? As one man said, "From my cold, dead hands!"

Ironically, all this talk about RIGHTS is exactly what infringes on our happiness. The most difficult thing in the world is to stay THANKFUL, and no one is thankful for the things he thinks he deserve! OF COURSE, I have a good life. Don't I DESERVE it? OF COURSE I have a nice car. Even the box of donuts says, "You deserve a donut today." That's right, I say to myself, I deserve a donut. Don't even THINK of infringing on my right to my donut.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not condemning my country or our national values. I am extremely grateful for the liberties we have in this country. But it took years of international ministry before I began to realize that biblical Christianity is in fact, quite un-American. There is only one inalienable right in life — the right to choose Christ. As for everything else, the Scriptures make it clear that life is most definitely NOT fair.

Ecclesiastes 9:11
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

If life was fair, those who work hardest to come out on top. The race WOULD be to the swift, and the battle to the strong. The richest people on earth would be those of highest understanding. But one look at the RIDICULOUS wealth of people in the entertainment industry proves this isn't true! As we just read, time and chance happens to everyone.

But it seems to me that when people complain that "life is not fair", what they are really saying is, "if life were fair, then my life would be better, because I deserve better!" And this is where I have a problem. We deserve what we've earned. What is the just reward for our behavior?

Romans 6:23a
For the wages of sin is death…

Death is not the punishment for sin. It is the payment for sin. And since the time of Adam and Eve, there has only been one sinless person who walked this earth.

1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Do you still want life to be fair? Do you really want to get what you deserve?

When the prophet Ezra led the Israelites back to Jerusalem after the days of the Babylonian captivity, he led them in a heartfelt prayer of repentance that we can still learn from today:

Ezra 9:13 [emphasis added]
And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;

Ezra thanked God that life was not fair, and that he did not get what he deserved. "Our God," he said, "hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve." You and I should fall on our knees every day to thank God that life is NOT fair, and that we are daily spared from getting what we truly deserve.

Psalm 130:3-4
3  If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Life is NOT fair. God’s graciousness towards us is a gift. This is the essence of his grace and mercy.

Psalm 103:8-11 [emphasis added]
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

If life was fair, all the love that God has shown would be returned to him. If life was fair, we would get what we deserve for our iniquities. Thank God life is not fair! You and I get far better than we deserve.

Psalm 68:19
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

All the good things in life are entirely undeserved. How should we respond to such benevolence?

Psalm 116:12
What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

This is not a rhetorical question (a question asked merely for effect with no answer expected). In the verses that follow, God tells us what he expects of us.

Psalm 116:13-14
13  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14  I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

We are to believe on the Savior Jesus Christ and walk with him, and we are to acknowledge his benevolence and generosity by returning to him, in the presence of all his people, a tithe of what he has given us.


Presented 30 January 2022 in French Settlement, Louisiana