I was shocked a couple of weeks ago when my 2 ½ year old son, Andrew, said for the first time, “That’s not fair.” Not only did he say it, he used it in context…and has said it a few times since then also. A few days later he said, “It’s not my fault.” Then proceeded to tell me that it was MY fault (with a smile on his face). He seems so young to be starting this (he actually won‘t even turn 2 ½ until the end of the month).
Where does he come up with this stuff?! I’m not sure, but one thing I know for sure…he keeps me on my toes! I love being his mommy…even if I’m not fair and it’s MY fault. =) I’m thankful God gave me a healthy, growing and constantly learning little boy.
Throughout the week Andrew’s words kept ringing in my head. I started wondering how many times I have said to God when dealing with others, “But God, that’s not fair” and “Besides, it’s not my fault.” It’s such human nature to say or think these things…even if we’re only mumbling them within ourselves.
Even as these thoughts filled my mind, words from my pastor’s sermon from the previous week also came back to me. He said, “Your response is YOUR responsibility.” You can’t control the circumstances of your life or what others do, but you CAN control your response.
We often think we have every right to be mad. We didn’t deserve to be hurt, mistreated, disrespected, overlooked, abandoned, abused, stabbed in the back. When dealing with others we say, “But God, look at them…look at what they said, what they did to me. Look at what I've been through. Why wouldn’t I be angry? I am right. They are wrong.” All the while forgetting it’s not their behavior that we should be concerned with, but our own.
In times of conflict it’s easy to rationalize our bad attitudes. Sometimes I have to admit that I say things that are disrespectful to my husband. Then, I rationalize it by saying, “Well, just look at him, he wasn’t being very loving.” As if his unlovingness would make my disrespectul behavior okay. Sometimes I don’t want to pray for and love the people who offend me. I want them to feel bad because I feel bad. I want to hold on to my anger. I don’t want to let go…and let God. I have rights…and they have no right to hurt me. I tell myself, “Anyone in my position would do the same.”
The question I should ask myself is this: do I want to be just like everyone else or do I want to raise the standard?
No matter what life throws at us, no matter how unfair it may seem, our response truly is our responsibility. What sets us apart from the rest of the world? Where do we find our strength, our hope, our peace…even in the midst of hardship? What good is our faith if we are constantly holding onto our “rights” rather than forgiving, loving and rising above the attacks of the enemy. The enemy would love for us to live our lives in defeat, but at the point of our believe the Lord gave us all that we need to overcome!
God never promised us that this life would be easy. However, he did promise us that He would give us strength, hope and peace in the midst of the battles of life.
Susie Larson wrote in her book “The Uncommon Woman: Making An Ordinary Life Extraordinary”:
“In a day and age when our unalienable rights have become somehow sacred, we must remember what Jesus did. He loved, He forgave, and He put evil under His feet.
What kind of change could be affected in our world if we, as Christ’s followers, had lines we wouldn’t cross no matter what anyone else was doing or saying? If we could remain kind while others are cruel, if we could keep from hating while others do dreadful things - are there any bounds to what the Lord could do through us?”
I Peter 2:23 says of Jesus, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hand of God, who always judges fairly.”
But, God, that’s not fair…and it really isn’t my fault! I can hear God whispering to my heart the same message I hope to relay to Andrew as he continues to grow and learn: sometimes life doesn’t seem fair and no matter whether it’s your fault or not, your response is still your responsibility.
“Don’t try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows that you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done.”