“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” (NLT)
Life is not fair. Bad things happen to those who are godly, good things come the way of those who are ungodly. God is fair, but God and life are not in harmony since humankind decided to go its own way independently of God. Things don’t work out as we would like or as God would like.
And so this unfairness can get to us. We can shake our fist at how the good suffer and the wicked triumph. Much as the Psalmist repeatedly did. But sometimes, what we see as unfairness is actually an angry resentment that we did not get the breaks, that we were behind the door when God came in the room and handed out blessings.
Such was the case of the elder brother in the story of the lost son. He was angry at the apparent unfairness of his wayward brother getting favourable treatment. He could not enter into his father’s gladness because he lived in the shadowy world of complaint and resentment. As the welcome home party got into full swing, we can picture this brother stamping his feet outside, shouting at anyone who would hear him that it simply wasn’t fair.
And yet, he was loved by his father. He had a home. He belonged. Life might not be fair, but if we shrug off the spirit of bitter complaint, we might find enough grace and light to rescue us from self-pitying resentment. Life might not be fair, but we can still join the party.
Support Your Hope 103.2
There is hope for a better day tomorrow, for a better future for your family, your friends, your neighbourhood. Hope for a world in which love overcomes fear – and people are not divided but instead unite.