September 30th, 2011
Coping With Unjust Realities
My mother has a million sayings and I hated all of them when I was growing up. Today I want to look at one of them that bothered me then and still does today, “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 unjust 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 situations that we deem ungodly 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 spiraling into a vortex that can suck us into bitterness and hopelessness. Once we’re in the vortex… it’s hard to pull ourselves out.
Recently I found myself in such a place. The unjust reality I faced had sucked me in and left me bitter, hopeless and depressed. While I’m normally very optimistic and upbeat, I found myself just wanting to crawl in bed and cry. I yelled, “No fair” to God and yet He didn’t seem to hear me.
My mother’s words, “Get over it” rang in my ears. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own so I picked myself up by the bootstraps and parked myself in the Word searching for answers. I want to share 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. Example… 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 had to deal 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.
I pray these words encourage you today to pick up your cross, forgive your trespassers and follow Him!