How to Cope When Life’s Not Fair

Let’s be honest. Sometimes life sucks. Things happen that aren’t fair, just, or right. The good guy doesn’t always win.

We’ve been going through a season of “unfair” in our household. My self-control, character, and faith have been tested. Some tests I’ve passed. Others I’ve failed miserably.

I hate injustice. There’s nothing that makes my blood boil more than things that aren’t fair. Have I told you I have a temper? Treat me unfairly or, worse yet, treat one of my kids unfairly, and you might catch a glimpse of it.

Fortunately, God’s been at work, too. He has gently closed my mouth so I can listen. He’s flooded my mind with His words so I can speak wisely. And He’s softened my heart so I can see beyond this present moment to a lifetime of character He’s molding in my kids, husband, and me.

I’m reminded today of Micah 6:8:

O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what He requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Regardless of how I’m treated, I’m to do what is right, merciful, and humble… even when others aren’t doing the same. Especially when others aren’t. Wow. That’s a big job.

When life’s not fair, I feel like shouting it from the rooftop. I feel like busting some heads and speaking my mind. I feel like dishing revenge and spite.

Know what I’ve learned? When I have shot off an email or said things in the heat of the moment, I’ve always regretted it. I have never gotten the satisfaction I want, and I always (later) think of all the ways I could have… and should have… handled it differently.

This week I’ve held my tongue (except to my husband… we all need to do that, right?). I have been utterly tempted to react, defend, or retaliate. But God’s been speaking.

Here’s what He’s said:

  • “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
  • “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Whew. Thank God (literally) for His words.

I’ve learned that it’s not a one and done proposition. I have to continue to choose God’s way… rightness, mercy, humility… over my way… anger. Sometimes, my temper rears its head, even after I think I’ve let it go. A new wave of indignation rolls over me. Or my ego is poked.

Today, in this moment, I’m working on God’s way.

Tomorrow, I will have to choose again.

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