That’s not fair. Do you ever think that? I do. Everyone has an opinion about fairness. Furthermore, everyone has their own idea about what is fair. Can you think of a time when you were treated unfairly? I can. I’m a mother of 2 and get accused of being unfair myself. When we measure our lives by how fairly we’ve been treated, the outcome leads to a distorted view that leans toward the negative.
This isn’t an education on what is fair or unfair. There are truly so many injustices in the world. Every day we face circumstances that are not balanced. We experience unfair situations in real time. We see injustice in the world based on race, religion, gender and age. The news broadcasts unsuspecting victims of crime everyday. What about the things that are less obvious?
What is your response when both children are bickering? When I help my son put away the dishes and my daughter says, “That’s not fair. You didn’t help me last week.” If that is her view, how do you think that affects our relationship or worse, her heart? If I view a boss or a teacher as playing favorites, how will that affect those relationships, or my thought life? I stood in line and someone else jumped in line with friends ahead of me. That’s not fair. Or would my view be different if my friends were farther up the line and I jumped in with them. See how quick we can be to judge what is fair by our own standards? Are you categorizing your life according to your view of fair and unfair? Stay with me…
The Fallacy of Fairness
The “Fallacy of Fairness” is a term coined by psychiatrist, Aaron Beck. He refers to it as a cognitive distortion. A fancy way to say a thought based on a false idea. In short, it’s a thought that needs to be taken captive. We have to address any thinking that leads our thought life down a negative path. Is focusing on fairness the best use of your time? Again, this article is not an attempt to judge fairness. It’s also not meant to lead you to slap a happy face on and pretend everything is awesome. It’s meant to make you aware of thoughts that are unproductive. This is the problem…
The Problem with Focusing on Fair
Our heart quickly becomes hardened. Bitterness takes root when we focus on being treated unfairly. Once bitterness takes root we face unforgiveness and seek revenge. We’ve all been there. It’s a subtle revenge. It might look like the silent treatment, creating distance or withholding love from the other person we perceive as treating us unfairly.
Feelings of discouragement lead to hopelessness. Looking at our life through a lens of what’s fair and unfair leads to negative thoughts and feelings and action.
Perception is relative. When we look at circumstances we see them through our own experience, emotions, and beliefs. That means, we each have a lens we see the world through. If we’re real honest we rarely look at what the other person might be experiencing in the same situation. How often do you consider what the lens of the other guy looks like?
God’s Word gives some ideas about unfairness and a right response. The Bible also gives us insight on where our hearts and minds are to be focused. The fact that we desire justice isn’t the problem. We are made in the image of our creator therefore we long for justice. The problem is how we respond to the injustices or perceived injustices, that we face each day.
- Expect things won’t always be fair. That is the reality of our world.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33
- Don’t worry about what the other guy is doing. God already knows what is going on. He is not surprised or frustrated by anyone.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; ~Psalm 37:1
- God offers so much grace, more than we can imagine. Receive His grace and pay it forward.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ~Luke 6:36
- Offer forgiveness. We all mess it up sometimes. We all have a moment when we wish for a “do over”!
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32
- Keep your eyes focused on the things above. Don’t get distracted by the things that steal joy and peace. Don’t get distracted by anything that leads down a negative path.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. ~Colossians 3:1-2
- Our time here is short in light of eternity. One day we will live in a completely fair world. Today is not that day.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the LORD Jesus Christ, ~Philippians 3:20
- Every difficult or challenging situation is an opportunity to grow in grace. We learn more from the bad then we do from the good. Thank God for even the difficult moments that stretch us!
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:18
Meditate on these truths-they will shape your world view. Consider what the other guys is experiencing. Challenge your thinking based on these truths. God’s ways are higher than our ways!