Life is unfair – extraordinarily unfair. Sometimes the good guys lose, while the bad guys revel in their victory. Sometimes, evil dictators prevail for decades, while innocent children starve and suffering saints are martyred. Is this too much for kids to handle? Dare we tell them the truth?
I think the truth sets kids free. In fact, I think we do our kids a disservice by shielding them for too long from the fact that life is not fair. Unfortunately, some kids never learn the lesson, and they are ill-prepared for the world.
Somewhere around eight years old is when kids need to be taught that “Yes, life is unfair. Sometimes you get the raw end of the deal.” That is a fact of life – everyday life.
And yet, kids also need to hear that sometimes you get the unfairly good deal. Sometimes you win, when you shouldn’t have won. Sometimes you find a twenty dollar bill on the street. Sometimes you get way more than you deserve. And yet, you don’t whine and complain about how unfair it is that you were unfairly rewarded.
And kids need to be reminded that they have gift, talents, and blessings that far surpass most kids in the world. They enjoy so many wonderful things that others will never get to enjoy, for the world is full of underprivileged children: the poor, the disabled, the abused, the uneducated, and the weak.
Our kids need to see the truth about the inherent unfairness of life.
You win some, and you lose some, and it’s not necessarily fair.
Now, some people will take this truth and apply it to God. They see the unfairness of life, and they think that it must also apply to the Creator of Life. In other words, since life is difficult and unfair, then God must be difficult and unfair.
Philip Yancey wrote in his book Disappointment With God, “We tend to think that life should be fair because God is fair. But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life – by expecting constant good health, for example – then I set myself up for a crashing disappointment… The cross of Christ overcame evil, but it did not overcome unfairness in this life.”
Pastor Todd Wagner (of Watermark Church in Dallas) recently posted on Twitter, “God does not promise to give us whatever our heart desires. He promises that He is what our heart desires.” It’s the good news of an unfair life. Life is hard, but God is good – all the time. Kids deserve to know this.