“But that’s not fair.”
Oh my goodness, if I hear that from my four year old one more time, I think I might cry. Life with a new little brother has been tough on my son–especially because his little brother arrived at our home at the age of 20 months. Everything my oldest has, my youngest wants (and will do nearly anything to get). So now, my oldest has a newfound obsession with “fairness,” and it is wearing me out!
“But this toy is mine. He can’t just take it. That’s not fair!” or “But he didn’t have to take three bites. Why do I? That’s not fair!”
I would love to chalk this up as a phase, but I know better. It seems as if humans were born with a craving for justice, and we never quite outgrow it. Just turn on the television and count how many court dramas will air on network stations tonight alone. We love justice–our country was founded on it (with liberty and justice for all!). We love to see the evildoer get what’s coming to him.
And justice is a beautiful thing. People should be held accountable for their actions. Our country should support and uphold a system that is fair and just, and I’m so thankful to live in a country that holds these values.
But this idea of justice can get a little scary for some when they consider how God handles justice. After all, the Bible is very clear about these three things:
- God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Romans 9:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:6).
- We have all sinned and fall short of God’s standard of living (Romans 3:23).
- The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Suddenly fair isn’t looking like such a great thing anymore.
But the Bible is also very clear about this: Jesus was the necessary sacrifice for our sin.
Yes, the punishment for sin is death. But instead of God calling for my death, Jesus died in my place. And if you want to talk about fairness–that’s about as unfair as it gets. Seriously–the fact that a perfect man paid the price for every wrong I’ve ever done is totally unfair. But it happened.
So, yes, God loves justice. He gives perfect people exactly what they deserve–an eternity of oneness with the one true God. The problem is that all of us have screwed up, making us imperfect. Blemished. Hopeless from the start.
If Jesus hadn’t died, that would be the end of our story. But He did, and that changes everything.
If you believe in Jesus and have asked God to forgive your sins, they are gone. And not gone like the sock that you swear has disappeared but will inevitably return as soon as you’ve thrown its match away. I mean gone like it never happened.
There is no evidence.
We find the defendant not guilty.
You are free to go.
So that thing that you’ve done or said that you can’t forgive yourself for… The thing that makes you toss and turn at night. The thing that you see as inextricably linked to your identity. The thing that weighs on you every second of every day… Yeah, that thing doesn’t exist anymore. There is no evidence of your guilt if you are in Christ. You are torturing yourself over something that God doesn’t even see.
Imagine this–someone in a police uniform walks up to a man, tells him he has committed a crime although the man has no record, and arrests him. The man is then taken to prison and told he has to stay there for the rest of his life–that there’s nothing he can ever do to be free again. Despite everything he has learned about our justice system, the man willingly stays locked up in prison for the rest of his life, believing that the guy dressed in the police uniform had the authority to lock him up and hand him a life sentence. Ridiculous, right? No one would ever believe something as outrageous as that! No one would ever willingly give up his freedom and believe something that goes against everything he has been taught! Right??
Then let me ask you this. Why are you sitting in a prison cell?
So many of us are locking ourselves up and refusing to allow ourselves the freedom that God says is ours in Christ (Galatians 5:1). And Satan loves every minute of it. You see, he is totally powerless against God, so he can’t take away the freedom that has been given to you through Christ. But he can lie to you and convince you it’s not yours. Or that you don’t deserve it. Or that God meant every other sin, but not that one. But that’s all those are: lies.
Here is the truth: God is love (1 John 4:8). And love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). And because of Jesus, we can have a loving relationship with God. Therefore, there is NO record of your sin and no punishment from God for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).
Hear me, sister: When He looks at you, He sees perfection and innocence (Colossians 1:22) regardless of what you see, think, or feel at the moment.
So, although you have fallen short of His commands, you are free to live in His total forgiveness and love. In the words of Hillsong United, “It makes no sense, but this is grace.” It may not be fair, but it is truth.
So take these keys and unlock your prison cell dear. You’re free to go.