"It's Not Fair!!"

image courtesy of SteveFE via sxc.hu
This is probably the most common dialogue in arguments between parents and children.  A child either has to do something, or is not allowed to do something, or doesn't get something, and feels slighted.  His response, "It's not fair!"  This usually results in the parent stating (and let's all say it together now), "Life's not fair."  We've all said that at some point, right?

Some time back, we were sitting around the table, dividing up something; I forget what it was -- candy, or dessert, or toys, or something important like that.  One of the kids felt like he or she was getting short-changed, and uttered the famous words, "not fair."  I was about to give the standard response, when God stopped me.  He put a thought in my head, that I needed right at that moment.  It was a moment of gospel-parenting that came right from the Holy Spirit, and not from my own wisdom.  It went like this: 

"You really don't want fairness.  [You should have seen the confused look on their faces.]  Yep, you heard me.  You actually don't care about fairness.  I know it's true because I've never heard you complain when you got MORE than someone else.  You only complain when you get LESS.  So, you don't really want to be fair; you just want things for yourself.  You are selfish, not fair-minded."

Then I said, "In fact, you really don't even want things to be fair, if we're going to be honest.  [More confused looks.]  You think you deserve a lot, but really you deserve nothing.  You've never earned anything that we have.  If we were going to be fair, you would have much less than you have now.  We give you things because we love you, not because you deserve it.  We've provided everything you have ever needed, and lots that you've wanted but didn't need.  We love you, and God wants you to be content with that." 

This was the opportunity to get to the gospel.  I continued, "But you know what's great?  God really isn't fair either.  And that is such a good thing.  Because you know what we deserve because of our sin?  That's right -- death.  We deserve to die, like Romans 6:23 teaches.  We have disobeyed God and rebelled against Him, and we deserve Him to punish us for eternity.  But God took all that wrath and judgment, and poured it out on His Son Jesus.  Was that fair to Jesus?  No way!  But He did it because He loves us, and He wants us to believe in Him and spend eternity with Him.  I am so glad that God isn't fair, and that He does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10)."

The next time your children say, "It's not fair," use that as an opportunity to reach their heart with the message of the Gospel.

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  1. Great example and encouragement! We also use "Fair is a place you go to ride rides!" from BW! :)

  2. when c played this "that's not fair" card yesterday, i references this post. what i said was not as eloquent as what you wrote but, i think he kinda got it.