Monday, July 21, 2014

What does it Matter? Life's Not Fair

Trials and persecution. I wrote a series about this facet of our lives. One of the things I stressed was that it would happen to anyone whether that person lived a good life or not. Indeed we all know that life's just not fair.

But how often have we heard (at least on the television) people use that expression as an excuse to justify their injustices towards others? Apparently since life is full of suffering already, it doesn't matter if we should add more suffering into the mix.

So here's a radical life principle - just because suffering is bound to come to the believer, doesn't mean it should come from within the church. The Bible uses the imagery of a family to describe a church quite often. Now I would at least hope that within your own family, you would not be willing to add to the suffering simply because they're going to suffer anyway.

Now of course, I'm sure few Christians would either decide to intentionally hurt others in order to advance their own selfish desires or to push others down to build themselves up. But it seems all too easy from my experience to do so unintentionally. In my life, it comes as a complete desire to be right, causing me to unfortunately pummel straight through any conflicting theory and its owner.

But it can come in other ways too. You see, we can attack each other selfishly without even necessarily knowing we are doing anything wrong. Thus, we must take time to evaluate our behaviour to see how we would be feeling if we were in the opposite position.

Now of course there are situations in which we just can't help but hurt somebody else. Our obligations to ourselves, to our family, or to the Lord force us to act in a way that is sure to cause emotional agony for someone else. In these situations, the only thing you can do is try to be as direct and delicate as possible.

Hurt feelings might not seem like a significant issue, but this phenomena is not limited to hurt feelings. Indeed we are discussing a number of areas where people can so easily hurt others, but the truth is, we won't do much good fighting the enemy, if we are instead fighting each other.

We will be able to do more to protect ourselves as a unified force than every man for himself. Take for instance, during the time of Esther, when the Jews had to fight for their lives. Naturally, the Lord protected them, as He would us today. But they still had to prepare to fight.

Each man did not protect his own family of his own might either. Rather, the Jews came together to fight as a unit. Esther 9:2 proclaims,
"The Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people."

Look at how effective unity can be. But then we all know that it is not easy to work with someone who manipulated his way into a position that you think you deserve (I know not really Christian behavior on either side there). Nor is it easy to work with someone that you know you have unnecessarily hurt at some point in your life.

So with that, I ask simply, let's strive to not cause suffering to other members of the family of God, but instead to do the exact opposite. As the Bible commands in Philippians 2:1-4,
"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

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