You don’t have to live very long to realize life isn’t fair. If my almost-two-year-old had “It’s not fair!” in her vocabulary, she’d say it constantly. Her big sister gets to do a lot more things than she does.
Allie can’t go to Vacation Bible School. Allie can’t ride a bike. Allie can’t read a book without someone helping her.
And it’s not fair.
But that doesn’t change the fact that these things are true.
Allie can’t go to VBS – the rules state she must be 4 to attend.
Allie can’t ride a bike – her current height is such that her legs won’t reach the peddles.
Allie can’t read a book – she lacks the ability to recognize the letters and sound out the words.
No matter how much Allie pouts and rails against these situations, no matter how much she wishes things were different, no matter how much I would love for her to be able to do these things, truth is truth. And the truth is she can’t.
Even if Allie were to go to the church and give them a piece of her mind, telling the VBS director, “I think all kids should be allowed to attend VBS if they want to, no matter what their ages are. It is unfair of you to discriminate based on age,” that wouldn’t change the fact that the rule is children must be 4 to attend.
If Allie went to the bike manufacturers and told them, “It is unfair that you don’t make 2-wheelers small enough for me to ride. My legs are only 12 inches long, and that is not my fault. You should accomodate me by making smaller bikes,” that wouldn’t change the fact that bike manufacturers aren’t going to pursue that small market (pun intended) because it lacks the potential profit margin that would make it worth their while.
If Allie went to God and protested, “I ought to be able to read books by myself. I want to read, and I am entitled to read even though I haven’t learned the letters or sounds yet. I love books, and I try to read, so you ought to give me that ability right now,” God would be under no obligation whatsoever to comply with Allie’s demands. He has set the “learning to read” process up as it is for a reason, and I doubt He is interested in Allie’s logcial argument as to why He should change it.
You and I can see the absurdity in all of Allie’s theoretical arguments. We can plainly comprehend that while these things are not fair, that doesn’t make them any less true. Unfair things are true all around us. There are countless tangible examples of this, and a lot of them make sense to us. Three year old are not allowed to drive cars. True? Yes. Unfair? Yes. Unwise? Not at all.
Yet, when we take this principle and apply it to the spiritual realm, we humans revert to infantile thinking.
We balk at the idea that accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only way to God. We cry out, “That’s unfair!” when we are told that only Christians get to go to Heaven. We try to change God’s mind by giving God our best logical arguments against the fact that God doesn’t accept a person’s “goodness” as grounds for salvation.
Anne Graham Lotz likens God’s exclusivity to a father that owns a home. He gets to decide who can come in and who can’t. If a stranger knocks on the door, the father has the right to tell that stranger he can’t come in. But if the father’s child knocks on the door, the father will throw the door open as fast as he can and usher the child in. Why? Because the child belongs to the father. There is no other reason. “But that’s not fair,” Anne says, “The stranger is a good person and doesn’t want to cause any trouble.” Well, we don’t have to think it is fair. It is still fact.
Unfair things are true all around us, including in the spiritual realm.
Heaven is God’s home. He has said the only way in is through Jesus’ blood. He has offered every human many chances to accept that condition so they can gain entrance into Heaven. If we reject that chance, God has every right to keep us out of His home. It may not sound fair, but it is still true.
In response to the argument that it’s not fair that God only gives us one way to get into Heaven, Priscilla Shirer once said, “I’m just glad He gave us any way.” He didn’t have to even give us one way, much less multiple ways. We condemned ourselves to Hell through our own sinful choices (John 3:18), but God, out of His great love for us, devised a way for us to be reunited with him (John 3:17).
That isn’t fair. Everyone of us has earned Hell, but God chooses to offer us a way out of that death sentence, not because of anything we do, but because of His unfair love for us.
Thank God for His unfairness.