Coping with Unfair Realities
My mother had a million sayings when I was growing up and I hated most of them. One that particularly bothered me was, “Life’s not fair, get over it!” To be fair to my mother, I have to admit that this was her standard rebuttal to my incessant ranting, “NO FAIR!”
We all have the ability to recognize unfair treatment, but few of us have the ability to react to it in a godly manner. Even as adults we still yell, “No fair”, when we experience unfair realities. Maybe not outwardly… but inwardly our spirit screams it and whether we realize it or not it seeps out of us.
Reacting in a godly manner to unfair situations is perhaps the hardest thing for a Christian to do. The Bible tells us to forgive our trespassers and to turn the other cheek, but how do we do that when everything inside us demands restitution for the wrongs we’ve been dealt.
This is where my mother’s saying stings. Life isn’t fair and we have to get over it. Otherwise we’re in danger of becoming bitter.
Recently I found myself in just such a place. The unjust reality I faced had given birth to bitterness and inside I was screaming, “No fair!” My mother’s words, “Get over it” rang in my ears. I knew I couldn’t get over it on my own, so I picked up my Bible and searched for help. Below are 5 coping skills God showed me to help me get over it:
1. Accept the facts. Life really isn’t fair, the Bible proves it. Joseph didn’t deserve to be thrown in the pit; David didn’t deserve the death sentence Saul tried to impose on him, and most importantly… Jesus didn’t deserve to be hung on a cross. I had to ask myself, “If Jesus dealt with unfair situations why do I think I should be exempt?”
2. Realize God uses unfair circumstances. If Joseph wouldn’t have been thrown in the pit he wouldn’t have ended up in the palace where he eventually saved Israel from famine. If David wouldn’t have been chased by Saul he wouldn’t have been inspired to write the Psalms. If Jesus wouldn’t have died on the cross, our sins wouldn’t be forgiven. This helped me regain an eternal perspective.
3. Take your thoughts captive. The only way to change negative thoughts is to replace them with truth. I did this by constantly reminding myself God would somehow use it for good.
4. Draw on past victories. Remind yourself of times when God brought you through tough spots. As I reflected on the many times God has redeemed situations in my life it increased my faith to know that He would do it again. (If you can’t think of any, read about the many examples in the Bible.)
5. Make the choice to grow from it. If we never decide to take the necessary steps to get past it, we won’t. Joseph, David and Jesus chose to get over it and the impact of their decisions is still felt today.
What unfair reality are you facing today? Are you prepared to get over it?