Talking Point – January 2023

It’s not fair!

SITTING IN my chair on a cool November afternoon, I paused to consider what might be interesting to share with you. Considering what I will write will not be read until the January edition of Caversham Bridge, I thought for a brief moment that I might try writing something motivational about New Year’s resolutions. Quickly, I decided that it would be rather a difficult task, when you bear in mind that the majority of these resolutions are given up by early February. No, I must write something that is achievable for us all. So, even if we don’t have complete success, we won’t feel too bad about picking up where we left off and trying again – without feeling that we have failed.

The strange thing about this November is the fact that the football World Cup is ongoing and, as I write, the final is some way off. But, by the time you are reading this piece, it will be all over. There seems to have been some debate on TV over whether the refereeing is consistent. The chief complaints often come from the teams who feel things have gone against them, along with a huge sense of injustice. ‘It’s not fair,’ they cry, ‘We should have had a penalty’; or ‘They should have got a yellow/red card’.

If football is not your thing, don’t worry, I won’t say any more on the subject. Of course, there are many areas of life where we might want to say ‘It’s not fair’. The reality is, throughout the huge range of activities in the world – pastimes, the workplaces and education – it can often be said ‘Life is not fair’.

We do not always reap what we sow – and neither do others. Innocent people get hurt and the bullies get away with being bad. This has been the case since the days of Adam.

Our natural response to this reality is to protest. It’s not fair when people will not forgive us, or they take more than they give, or they don’t want us the way we want them. These things are not fair, but our protest is a good thing to experience because it helps us to identify hurtful things and people. Why is that good? Well, it becomes a warning sign that something negative is going on so that we can understand and take action.

What we must not allow ourselves to do is to be always complaining or protesting in our relationships. Don’t let ‘It’s not fair’ become your mantra. Don’t allow your protesting to define who you are. Don’t be defined by all the things that you are against. If your battle is in demanding perfect justice and fairness, you will always be dissatisfied and are more likely be preoccupied with getting just treatment than loving and being loved. The ultimate solution is to go beyond justice and fairness and live in grace instead. Give more than you should. Do not give until it is fair and then stop. Don’t stop at doing your ‘half’. Be a force for justice and fairness in your relationships, but don’t require that the balance sheet be even for you to be a loving person.

‘That’s not fair, Colin’, I hear some say. But hear this, no couples have ever said that they don’t love the other person until they are fair with them first. Just imagine that the creator of the universe went far beyond fair. ‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’. 1 Peter 3:18.

I am glad that God decided to go above and beyond for the people of the world and for me. It’s not fair, but we are blessed that God desires relationships with us as of first importance. Happy New Year!

Pastor Colin Baker
Caversham Baptist Church