This morning I attended a meeting with the Mayor of Windsor at a local donut shop. It was the donut shop that really the attraction, but the presence of a community event was a good excuse. Our weather in Northern Colorado has turned out better than expected on this Easter-eve day. I was glad to get in a workout at the fitness center after some shopping with Debbie.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “In my futile life I have seen everything: there is a righteous man who perishes in spite of his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in spite of his evil.” Ecclesiastes 7:15 HCSB
“Then he [Pilate] released Barabbas to them. But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.” Matthew 27:26 HCSB
The child responds to his parent’s discipline and complains, “You are not being fair!” The parent responds in his wisdom, “Life isn’t fair!” It doesn’t take long in life to realize “life isn’t fair.” We see a child with cancer. We see a teen in their prime killed in a car accident. We see good happen to “bad” people, and bad happen to “good” people.” We see the innocent suffer for the guilty.
Thousands of year ago Solomon to his frustration, made the observation about the inequity and ironies of life. We see him observe, “There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile.” (Eccl. 8:14 HCSB)
If these circumstances of life become our focus, we like Solomon, can conclude that “life is futile.” This can lead to anger, frustration and despondency. It can cause people to turn to God and demand the “He do something.” But we live in a “fallen world”, surrounded by “fallen people.” Not even the Son of God in this world could escape the inequities of this life. Barabbas was released, Jesus was condemned. Even the thief on the cross recognized the injustice,
“But the other [criminal on a cross] answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:40,41 HCSB)
Jesus is one who suffered as “the innocent for the guilty.” He was betrayed, mocked, endured physical torture, and was ridiculed by common criminals. When you deal with a “life that is not fair” you are in good company and you have a friend in Jesus.
Some important observations…
When Jesus faced the inequities of life, He did not strike back and He did not become angry and embittered. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34 HCSB) But that was Jesus! We look at the stoning of Stephen in Acts and as he was being unjustly murdered his final words were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60 NIV)
Jesus entrusted His life to the Father, knowing that God is just and in the end has the final say. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV)
We can be assured of the encouragement of Jesus presence and example. We are to focus on Him and not on others and the circumstances of this life. “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12;2,3 NIV)
The following poem attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, highlights the inequities of life and the proper response:
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
When life is unfair, it allows us to look toward a future and a place the Lord has prepared where all the inequities of this life are no more. That is the hope of resurrection Sunday!