The F Word

My host sisters frequently say one word that makes me cringe.  It's a four-letter word that I used to say, and sometimes I still think it.  It's a word that most people say without thinking twice.  Despite what you're probably thinking, it's not considered profanity.  The word I'm describing is fair.

Merriam-Webster provides this definition, "Agreeing with what is thought to be right or acceptable."  It is commonly used in the United States when expectations of equality are not met.  For example, "That's not fair!"

I said it just as frequently as my host sisters when I was their age.  At 9 I'm sure I said it every single time I thought it.  Being the second of two girls, nothing was fair.  Hand-me-down clothes weren't fair, not being allowed to do the same things as my sister wasn't fair, being the youngest wasn't fair, and the list continued daily.  Nothing was fair in my world.  My entitlement exceeded my reality.

When I'm around the girls I notice every time there is a moment of unmet expectations, resulting in pouting, crossed arms, and frowning faces.  While I'm still the "cool" big sister, I do my best to use those opportunities to talk to the girls, listen to them, and respond in a way that allows them to think through the situation on their own.  I've even set up a system of rewards based on "non-freakout moments."

But, despite my best efforts and heightened awareness, I think about fairness.  Not to the extent in which they do, however, I thought about it this morning.  I had a moment when I actually sifted through memories to think of a time when a sibling of mine received something that I did not.  For a split second, I then calculated what I deserved, based on that memory of inequality.  How foolish!

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
— Romans 7:18

I try my hardest, but sometimes, I think about the f word.  Thankfully, as I was reminded this morning, not much in this world has added up to fair.  It's not fair that I get to live with a host family who is sacrificing so much for me.  It's not fair that I get to serve a Holy God when I am so filthy.  It's not fair that I live in a gated community in California when there are so many homeless.  It's not fair that I sin and I don't have to pay for it.  

Grace overthrew fairness almost 2,000 years ago.  When Jesus hung on a cross, bloody and bruised for all of the sins that I would ever commit, grace won. Grace overtook me and now my life is not fair, and never will be.

I pray that our culture would think less of the f word, and more of grace.

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Lisa DietrichComment