I had the pleasure of watching The Grace Card on video a few months back.  It was a great movie, but the whole “card” bit as mentioned in the title was lost until the very end.  When presented at the end, however, it became a touching moment.

There is another “card” that is frequently played among the masses.  It’s called the Fair Card, or better said, The (It’s Not) Fair Card.  You know what I’m talking about.  I don’t think a week goes by without hearing the phrase “It’s not fair” at least a few times in my home.  If you have more than one child, you know what I’m saying.  One child gets two cookies.  The other gets one.  One child goes to bed earlier, the other child goes to bed later.  One child gets to play on a video game longer.  The other does not get as much time.  One child has more popcorn in their bowl.  The other has less.  One child gets to drink beer with dad, the other doesn’t.  OK. I’m joking with the last one.

When such perceived unfairness comes about, out comes the (It’s Not) Fair Card.  “No fair! He got to have more than me!”  or “Why does he get to have more than me?!”  We parents typically respond one of two ways.  We either hear their plea and make things even or fair, or we say something along the lines of, “Life’s not fair (Deal with it).”  As parents, I believe we try to do what we can to make things fair, while taking age and maturity into factor as well in parenting decisions.

Sometimes we forget that we are also children (of God) who sometimes give the same complaints to our heavenly Father.  “Daddy, It’s not fair!  They have more than me!” “Dad, I get disciplined for what I do, how come they get away with their bad behavior?!” “Dad, I’ve been good.  How come I can’t have what I deserve for my good behavior?”  Can you hear these words echo through the chambers of your heart?  They are the cries of a child that call out for fairness, justice, and equality in a world that is broken.  They are the cries of a child who has a hope that their world would become safe and good.  They are also the cries of a child who lacks the perspective of an eternal, holy and just Father.

Our perspectives are often askew when we simply consider our small world versus the eternal and entire kingdom of God.  When we consider God’s eternal plan, His love for us and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us, can we really ask such questions?  Our heavenly Father will not answer us in the trite ways we answer our children by giving them more or by telling them to suck it up.  No, our Heavenly Father, in His wisdom, has already answered such cries.  Listen to how He responds:

Me:Daddy It’s not fair!  They have more than me!”

Father: “I have blessed you in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. chose you in Christ before the creation of the world. I’ve adopted you as sons through Christ. I have given you redemption through Christ’s blood, and I have forgiven you your sins” (Eph 1:3-7).  You have my love. I have given you eternal life (Jn 3:16).  

Me:  “Dad, I get disciplined for what I do, how come they get away with their bad behavior?!”

Father:  “I have given mercy to everyone who has been disobedient.  Even to you when you were disobedient” (Rom 11:32).  “I have also set a day when I will judge the world with justice by the man I have appointed (Christ). I have given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). 

Me:  “Dad, I’ve been good.  How come I can’t have what I deserve for my good behavior?” 

Father:  “All your good deeds and righteous acts are like dirty rags (Is 64:6).  You have sinned and fallen short of my glory (Rom 3:23).  The wages of sin is death.  Because of your disobedience, you deserve death…eternal separation from me.  But because I love you, I am giving you a free gift: eternal life with me (Rom 6:23) through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8).”  

How can we play The (It’s not) Fair Card with God?  God, in His love and wisdom, chose not to be fair to us.  If He was fair, he would have given us what we deserve-eternal separation from a relationship with Him in hell.  This would have been fair.  Thank God that He is not fair.

Redeeming Halloween…A Hungry Father’s Lesson

There is a lot of debate in the church regarding whether or not Christians should be involved in Halloween and trick or treating.  Some feel it is participating in an evil holiday; some say let the children have some fun; others say to redeem the holiday by Christianizing it.  Still others say that this issue is one where you should let the Holy Spirit guide each person and let each person’s conscience be the judge.

I’m kinda drawn to the “redeeming” of Halloween.  I’ve thought about decorating the house, adding all the evil stuff of Halloween making it as close to Hades as can be to scare the living daylights out of everyone, then giving them a tract saying “Don’t wanna be in Hades , then ask Jesus in your heart!” or something along those lines…But that would take up too much time, effort and money, and I’m not sure how effective it would be….and woah, the clean-up!  I might get letters about that one.  I’ve also thought about having a Halloween cookout in my house in the front yard, having Hallo”weiners” & “Boo”gers (burgers, not real boogers – thought I should clarify) and giving them out to neighborhood families, but most people have probably eaten first and only want wrapped candy only.  Of course, I would still have handouts, brochures etc. for kids and families about Christ or the church (or both)! (I still may try this some year). 

In the name of “redeeming” Halloween, though, I can at least take the first step in teaching my kids about tithing.  Yes, tithing…You see, as they dress up like little angels and Eagles & Phillies players, walking the streets and saying “trick or treat” at numerous homes, they collect their just rewards of candy.  Now whatever candy they collect, they must tithe (give a minuimum of 10%) to their earthly father.  That’s right.  And their tithe cannot be the leftover, damaged or unwanted candy..Nosiree, that is an unacceptable sacrifice…Their tithe must be the best candy that would be pleasing to their earthly father (see Mal 1:12-14). 

So, parents…take the step  to redeem Halloween to give a spiritual lesson to your children about offering their firstfruits (or best candy) to the one who gave them life…After all, this holiday is not about them, it’s about them honoring their earthly fathers (or earthly parent for single parent homes) who have walked with them every step of the way, providing opportunities for them to receive such treasures.  There is one caution, however, that is important to give and it is this: Fathers, beware…. if your spouse likes the same candy as you, you’ll have to wrestle her for it 🙂   but that’s not so bad either now, is it?