Puns are considered the lowest form of humor. You may call me a Cretan but I like them. They make me laugh. They make me groan. Sometimes they make a point. If you ride the waves of the Internet you’ll find that Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, and even Abraham Lincoln have all been credited with the saying, “When you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on.” Here’s the truth on the origin of the quote if you’re interested.
Regardless of the penman we all know what its like to worry that we can’t hang on any longer and wish there was something, anything, that would give us a break from the stress of trying to be who everyone thinks we should be. It’s exhausting. So, when we do find something to grab onto, we hold it tightly. Unfortunately the very things we hold on to for relief can become the things we must let go of to move forward. Sometimes we’re hanging onto to the wrong “nots.” Over the next few weeks I’ll share four that may have held you in place for far too long.
#1 Not fair
We learned to hang on to our concept of fairness early in life. After, “That’s mine!” and “That’s not fair!” were probably the first logical argumentative statements most of us ever uttered. We most often define, “not fair” as anything that doesn’t benefit us as much as it does someone else. If we’re truthful we admit that we’re not overly concerned with the opposite end of the spectrum. Here’s an example. I’m sitting at a restaurant and go over my ticket at dinner. I find I’m charged for a soft drink I never ordered. That’s robbery and I won’t stand for it. I have my waiter correct the problem immediately. But what if my waiter forgets to charge me for my drink? That’s just good fortune and I count my blessings. After thinking about it I decide I’d better point it out. My waiter hesitates no doubt impressed by my honesty and says, “You know what, don’t worry about it.” What a lucky guy I am. If the situations were reversed and the waiter asked me to pay for the drink I hadn’t ordered I would’ve argued and would’ve become angry but when the offer is to let the discrepancy slide on my end, I’m relieved. Why, if I had such a deep longing for fairness, wouldn’t I get as deeply upset at the prospect of being asked to take something I didn’t pay for as I did being asked to pay for something I didn’t get? So what we want is what’s fair for us but not for others. This is true to the point that we’re almost blind to the injustice given to others. You only have to look to the way you may have reacted to this year’s Superbowl or go to any of the district championships going on right now in high school basketball to see that’s true. Crowds cheer referees one second and curse them the next. Even worse, they yell and scream the same displeasures at teenage boys and girls. It can get ugly. I recently sat near an opposing team’s bench and overheard a young man ask his coach why a person in the stands had said what he’d said to him.
Our sense of fairness has the potential to become a crippling perception that forever keeps us from reaching the fullness of life Christ died to provide. To once more use a sports analogy. We refuse to step on the court for fear that the refs are unfair when all that is required is that we play the game.
Satan has used our sense of fairness against us for a long time. While the above examples may seem trivial they have huge implications. Remember with me the story of Jonah. After reluctantly preaching to Nineveh and having what might possible be the best sermon response in history (Jonah 3:6-9) he sullies up and perches himself on a cliff in the hopes that God might still strike them dead. God’s response is to provide him shade and then take it from him. The result is a tantrum that would rival that of any two year old and would’ve been a definite youtube sensation. God then shows Jonah that his sense of fairness has led him to love things more than he does people (Jonah 4:1-11). Aren’t you glad we serve a God that is merciful and not fair? Jonah’s sense of fairness kept him from appreciating God, loving people, and enjoying success. What might your sense of fairness be stealing from you? Tweet That. Don’t let the knot of, “not fair” entangle you.