“Well, who told you life was supposed to be fair?” These words rattle around in my brain, remnants from a collection of childhood moments otherwise forgotten. Like the chorus of a pop song, they were repeated at regular intervals, whenever my older sister received something I didn’t or my request for a stay of bedtime was denied.
Of course, these “injustices” were really not so in hindsight—and were inconsequential at best. But the world around us is full of true heartache, real pain and suffering, unimaginable wickedness poured out from one broken soul to another. Still, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, that rhetorical question from childhood echoes: Who told you life was fair?
The truth is, no one needs to tell us that life is unfair. We know it. We witness it. We experience it. We can’t escape it. But maybe what we really know, deep down inside, is not simply that injustice exists, but rather that it shouldn’t—that the Creator of this world made everything good, and that He is righteous and fair, compassionate and kind. This world is out of order. The grating sensation we feel when we come face-to-face with injustice rises up within us because we know it does not belong.
Life isn’t fair, but it should be. Justice was in the soil and air of Eden, part of the DNA of paradise. When sin twisted the goodness of creation, it also spread the disease of injustice across the universe. But thanks be to God that the story will end as it began, with a restoration of “liberty and justice for all,” to borrow an aspiration from American lore that will only be fully realized when Jesus returns as King.
The gospel—the “good news”—is not that God has provided a path of escape from this world, to bring us to heaven where justice reigns. Instead, it is that He is bringing heaven, with its perfect justice and righteousness, to earth. Until then, we have been left as emissaries of the Lord and His coming kingdom. Our marching orders? “Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17). In this way, we proclaim the coming destruction of injustice and evil, the collapse of power gained through the exploitation of the powerless, and the death knell of cyclical poverty and systemic racism.
No, life isn’t fair, but one day it will be.
Written by John Greco