Mercy: the opposite of fairness

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We desire God’s mercy while we expect, and even demand, to be treated with fairness. Desiring fairness is a black hole that leads to anger, frustration, disappointment, and struggles in relationships.

Where would you and I be if God treated us fairly? In pride, I want to say I don’t deserve unfair treatment. But such thinking is not sound. To demand fairness is to live without the fear of God. To demand fairness is to live like a fool, to live as if there were no God.

Yes, we must treat others with fairness but it is not something that we should demand for ourselves. Rather we must trust God to be our advocate. If we obey God’s commands and seek his honor in our lives, fairness is not something we will have to be concerned about. We can trust God for protection. He will not abandon us. Jesus did not demand fair treatment, but obeyed his Father instead. This is our model.

Rather than demanding fairness, God calls us to pursue mercy. Ruth Younts, in Get Wisdom!, defines mercy this way:
Mercy is showing kindness to those who are weak, sinful, and needy, because Christ loved me first when I was his enemy.

Understood biblically, all of us are weak, sinful and needy. We are all equally in need of mercy from God. We must stop complaining about a lack of fairness, and seek God for the strength to be merciful.

Here is the prayer Ruth suggests for teaching your kids to pray for mercy. It also fits where I need to be and the needs of my heart.

Prayer for mercy.
Father, thank you for being merciful to me all the time, when I never deserve it. I want to be merciful, too, but often I care more about fairness than mercy. Help me to be quick to forgive or overlook an offense. Help me to have compassion for those in need. In Jesus’ name, Amen

From Get Wisdom! by Ruth Younts

Get Wisdom!


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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.