The Expected Exception

Most of have probably heard the phrase “Life’s not fair.” Generally it’s uttered when we want to levy an accusation of inequity – when we didn’t get something that we thought we rightly should. The reason that generations of mothers have probably uttered these words is that, just like so many things our mother tells us, it’s true. Life isn’t fair. And the quicker we accept this fact, the better off our attitudes will be.

What’s noteworthy to me, though, is that most people want life to be “fair” until fairness obtains them an outcome they don’t like. Let me give you an example. In my class, I currently don’t accept late assignments. When someone turns in an assignment late, and I tell them – “I’m sorry, but you won’t earn any credit for this”, they quickly want me to be “unfair” and accept their assignment contrary to the standards that everyone else has been held to. It’s understandable – after all, who wants to forgo credit on an assignment just because they missed the deadline? – but it certainly wouldn’t be “fair” to give out credit. It would be patently unfair to all the other students who had to turn the paper in by the due date in order to earn a grade.

It’s not just college students who think like this though. How many of us hope and pray that the “crazy” driver gets a ticket, until that crazy driver is us? When we’re talking to the police officer, we’re presenting our case for why we should be the exception to the rule. In fact, in our pride, we often expect it. (And we degradate the police if they are so ludicrous as to not conform to our new-found sense of “fairness.”) We expect to be the exception, but we sure hope everyone is consistent with the standards when it means someone else might benefit.

The wonderful thing about God, though, is that He didn’t give us what we deserve. In the penultimate case of unfairness, the perfect Christ died for sinners, so that sinners would have His perfection counted towards them. Maybe if we appreciated this a little more, we wouldn’t be so concerned with the misgivings that transpire on Earth. And maybe, in recognizing how grossly unfair this was, we’d be more than content to accept the outcome when we don’t receive the exception we’re expecting.

How do you deal with the fact that life’s unfair? 

What do you think?