Saturday, June 15, 2019

When Life Isn't Fair

Carol L. Green (D.Hon.Causa)

Welcome to Listen, Lift, Launch Letters!

As most of you know, we are ministering on the front lines in Harrisburg, PA as community life coaches.  A few years ago, my husband began teaching about Believers moving in stealth-mode in order to be more effective in soul winning and discipleship. He said we must learn to operate under the radar, not seeking attention, acclaim or accolades. Then the Lord gave us a powerful way to minister in stealth and under the radar. It was through life coaching.

God has been using this aspect of our ministry to provide practical tools for people who are trying to rebuild their lives in the midst of great devastation. Part of that recovery process involves helping them see past five categories of lies, according to Dr. Chris Thurman who wrote a book called, The Lies We Believe. The five categories are the self-lies, worldly-lies, marital-lies, distortion-lies, and religious-lies that have been received and believed by millions of people.

I have been sharing with you, some of the ways Chris and I are helping people to identify these lies that have held them back. This week, as we continue in our discussion about worldly lies,
I want to discuss the lie that says, “Life should be fair!”

We all would prefer the people we have to interact with to treat us fairly; without wondering if they’re being honest with us.  As a child I was taught to treat others fairly and to expect to be treated fairly by most people.  The problem comes when you interact with people who don’t believe or live that way. And then there are things that happen in life that simply are not fair.

In 1986, after we had our first son, I went back to work after taking the customary six-week maternity leave. I returned to work only to discover that I had been laid off.  My co-workers, knowing that I was coming back to this situation, gave me a baby shower and large item gifts.  The company gave me a two-week severance package.  Life was certainly unfair at that time because we had just bought a house and a second car, and I knew this lay-off would mean the loss of the house or the car since we depended on two salaries to maintain our household expenses. 

I admit to wishing that somehow, something would happen so that we wouldn’t have to lose anything.  Wishing the situation would change didn’t make it change. That was the reality that my husband and I had to accept.  It was very hard, hurtful and embarrassing to accept that I couldn’t find a job in time enough to keep our house and car. It seemed so unfair that we were losing everything while others, who were often wasteful and frivolous with their spending, still had their jobs and vehicles. Why was this happening to us?
King Solomon said this in Ecclesiastes 9:11, “I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.”

Simply put, the fastest person does not always win the race, the strongest person doesn’t always win the battle, the wisest person doesn’t always reap the benefits of their wisdom, the person who understands how to obtain riches doesn’t always get the money, and the person with the most skills doesn’t always get chosen to do the job.

Why does this happen? Solomon says it’s because time and chance can happen. The fastest runner might stumble and lose the race. The strongest person might slip and lose the fight.

The wisest person’s decision might go awry. It might be the wrong time to invest and the financial genius might not see the expected return on their investment. The person with the most skill might be ignored in place of a person who arrives at a job site first. We can find ourselves in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people, and it simply might be a matter of timing and chance.

At the time that company laid me off, they had a last hired, first fired policy. Their industry was suffering due to national economic problems. I was one of many who fell into the last-hired category.  Was it fair to fire me for that?  It was one of those things that was unfair in life and not a personal attack on me.  People from all ethnic groups and ages were laid off as well.  I had to take the time to really look at the situation and choose not to take it personally because it wasn’t personal.  It did not feel fair, but it was prudent for the company’s survival.

As a kingdom of God citizen, how will you handle the unfair situations of your life?  Dr. Chris Thurman, author of the book, The Lies We Believe, gives a few suggestions in handling unfairness when you experience it in life’s circumstances or directly from people:

First, call things what they are, so that the starting point in dealing with unfairness is to call it unfairness.  That may be obvious, but far too often we make excuses for others. We act as though what they did wasn’t unfair, or we call unfairness by some other name just to smooth things over or keep the peace.

Second, allow yourself to feel hurt and angry when something unfair happens.  Notice I said hurt and angry.  I didn’t say bitter, resentful and enraged.  There is a big difference.  It is appropriate to feel hurt and angry when something unfair happens, so let yourself feel these emotions.

Third, decide whether you want to assert yourself and try to correct the unfairness.  Some things are worth speaking up about such as being overcharged for repairing your car because you’re a woman.  Some things are not worth the fight such as someone gets a few more french fries in their order than you did.  There is a time to stand up and say, “I am not going to take this!” and a time to say, “No big deal, I’m gonna let this one slide.”

Fourth, you need to work on not taking what happened personally.  Whether someone intentionally or unintentionally acted unfairly, what happened wasn’t a personal statement about you.  Some of us are so personally insulted when something unfair comes our way, we grossly overreact. Though easier said than done, we must realize that unfairness toward us is not always personal.

That job layoff was one experience in which I learned not to take a decision that went against me as a personal attack.  There will be times that life won’t go as planned and it will feel unfair. We don’t always know all of the variables surrounding the circumstances of our lives, but God does!  Trust Him!  He is fair and He will turn it for your good!

We Listen, We Lift, We Launch,

Coach Carol Green