June 16, 2013 – Pastor Tim – “Not Fair”
“Not fair!!” Whether you’ve said it or at least thought it, you’ve got to admit, it’s hard to see someone get away with something and not get what they deserve. We learn this early in life. Just ask the parent of any teenager. Kids hate to see their siblings get off scot-free for the things they got spanked for. Which is why they so readily tattle on each other. But then, we never really grow out of this. To our way of thinking, fairness means sinners deserve God’s wrath and we, the good people, deserve applause. Luke 15:7(NLT) says, “… there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
If God were into being “fair,” we would all be consumed by His judgment! We can be thankful for this: Psalm 103:1-10, “Bless the Lord, O my soul;?And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,?And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,?Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,?Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,?So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord executes righteousness?And justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses,?His acts to the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,?Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. 9 He will not always strive with us,?Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,?Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
We should be glad, not grumpy, that God chooses mercy over fairness and that He is willing to extend grace even to those who are undeserving and hopelessly lost. And while we are thinking about it, when was the last time we let mercy trump fairness with someone who offended us? Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” A person who cannot forgive has forgotten how great a debt God has forgiven them.
It’s not God’s fairness but His mercy that drives Him to pursue us so that heaven can have a party when we are found. In Luke 15:23-32 (NLT) the father says, “And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, [THAT’S NOT FAIR!!] ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours [not his brother] comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes [an over-exaggeration], you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ [What we fail to realize is that the party may not be for us this time, but we are invited and should join in the celebration.]
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. [In other words, he could have had a BBQ with his friends anytime he wanted!] 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. [We must celebrate a changed life.] For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
Personally, I’m thankful that God has not been “fair” with me! Aren’t you?? We can show mercy to others because God has shown mercy to us or we can show mercy to others only if we remember that God has shown mercy to us.
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