“Life’s not fair. If it were, we’d all go to hell.”
My sons, ages 8 and 3, were recently playing with a little neighborhood boy. They had been taking turns riding in a wagon. My 3-year had obviously taken a little too long of a turn and the neighbor boy was exclaiming, as all young people do, “It’s not fair!” My older son replied, in his very matter-of-fact tone, “Life’s not fair. If it were, we’d all go to hell.”
I immediately shushed him. I was a little embarrassed that this truth — one I often share when “It’s not fair!” is shouted by my kids — was being echoed outside the safety of our home. Later I wondered, why did I shush him? Why was I embarrassed? It is the truth, isn’t it?
We all, each and every one of us, deserve hell. Not a single one of us deserve a reward for our “good” behavior.
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
On our own, left to our own devices we are selfish, cruel and demanding people, each falling short of the standard of good set by a loving and holy God. Maybe we can get our outward behavior to look right, but deep down in our core, our motives and intentions are very seldom pure.
It is only by grace.
It is only by grace — undeserved and lavished favor — that His people will not see hell, the place were one experiences eternal separation from our Creator. Without the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ (and our willingness to receive this cleansing), we’d all be damned to this awful place. Fairness isn’t the issue, grace is.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
So why was I embarrassed by this truth? Why was I so shy about my sons blunt statement of fact that everyone needs to hear? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I know very few people want to hear about hell. Very few of us are willing to accept that we need a Savior. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want myself or my son rock the boat.
So I repented.
Lord, please forgive me for being embarrassed about what is true. Help me to bolding stand on your Word and encourage my children to do the same. The next time my son has the opportunity to explain why fairness isn’t the real issue, also give him the opportunity to explain why grace is the most important issue. In your name I pray. Amen.
I recently had a conversation with a group of ladies at church about my go-to response to “it’s not fair!” Some were shocked, a few appalled, and a couple laughed at the phrase “if it were, we’d all go to hell.” I think I’ll keep using it, but one lady suggested I use “Life wasn’t fair for Jesus, so it won’t be for you either.” What do you think? How do you respond to your children when they declare that something isn’t fair? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or send me a message.
Only by grace,
Life's not fair. If it were, we'd all go to hell. Click To Tweet Fairness isn't the issue, grace is. Click To Tweet
When I first read Lara Williams saying she says that phrase to her kids I laughed out loud, even tho it is sobering, too. It’s one of those “Boom!” statements. I used one in my mini ebook after talking about desiring to grow in the Lord and being intentional with our relationship with Him I said, “If none of this matters to you, perhaps you need to get saved all over again.” It was written a couple years ago, and I have since softened my tone. There have been recent times I have cringed with using it, and wanted to rewrite the whole thing. But then I thought well sometimes those types of statements are needed. After all, Jesus talked about Hell.
Lara’s post was what started me using this phrase with my kids. She is such a tell-it-like-it-is writer. It does seem to harsh at first, doesn’t it? But it is the truth. And we need to be reminded of it often.