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But it's not fair

Life can be unfair – people, too – but what would Jesus do? asks Ali Davis

As with all godly qualities, justice starts at home, within us – in each of us, at the very core of who we are as human beings and children of God.

Life, in contrast to God’s character, can often be unjust. We have all been hurt by people – sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. We have all been treated in a way which is unkind, unfair, disrespectful. We have all been disillusioned, with a job, a relationship, a leader or ourselves.

All of us have experienced disappointment or upset at the hands of other people, and likewise we, too, have inflicted pain, hurt and upset on people we care about and strangers alike. Some of us will feel that God Himself has let us down.

We have all said at one time or another, that’s not fair”. And we’d be right: life isn’t fair. Finding a way to respond to life’s unfairness without saying that’s not fair” is hopefully something we learnt during our childhood. Or maybe we just graduated to the language of justice: that’s so unjust”.

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Injustice is painful. It can make us bitter, defensive, sad, unkind or unfeeling. Many of us will have sympathised with Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, when trauma and grief caused her to say, Don’t call me Naomi… Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter” (Ruth 1:20). It can be easy to sink into a bottomless pit of injustice-induced misery. 

But Christians should not do so. For the fruit of the Spirit isn’t bitterness, anger and despair; it’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22 – 23).

So, as we grow into the fullness of Jesus, how can we put off our sense of injustice and bear the fruit of the Spirit?

Lean in to the Holy Spirit

A few years ago, I tried to work on developing the fruit of the Spirit in my own life. I read a lot about them, studied them in my quiet time, talked about them with others. Eventually I realised that you will not get better at producing the fruit of the Spirit without… the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is God’s gift to us – His presence dwelling inside of us, to help us. The Holy Spirit is literally called a counsellor’. Each day, ask the Spirit to help you bear His fruit. The Spirit is good; He will help you.

Talk about it

We need to process our thoughts and feelings. Even if you don’t talk much, find the right moment and the right person to share your sense of injustice with. You could do this alongside an activity – walking, gardening, painting, dancing, singing, woodwork – whatever you need to help you process your thoughts and feelings.

Forgive

The perfect, spotless, sinless Lamb of God died for our sins and forgave us, even though we didn’t deserve it. As recipients of God’s mercy, we too are to forgive others. In forgiveness, there is freedom. Whether it’s a person you need to forgive, a situation with which you need to make peace, or even if you need to extend some grace to yourself, forgiveness releases the shackles of hurt, bitterness, fear and hatred that bind us when we sit in the trauma and the pain.

As we continue in our lifetime of discipleship, let’s strive to put off the hindrances that a sense of injustice will place on us and, instead, put on that which God calls us to. In Colossians 3:12 – 15, Paul paints a picture of what it looks like to follow Jesus: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Let’s do our best to be those chosen people, holy and dearly loved.

About the author

Alexandra has been at the Evangelical Alliance since 2015. Previously she worked for Evangelical Alliance member Release International. Alexandra has a masters degree in Democracy and Democratisation from University College London and spent time with the Baptist Missionary Society in Kosovo. Alexandra is part of the leadership team at her church.

See more from Alexandra Davis

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