Mr. Lundstrom adjusted his tie in the mirror. "Who's baby sitting the kids tonight?" he asked. He and his wife were going to a neighbor's anniversary party.
"I finally got Kelly Kenton," Mrs. Lundstrom said. "But it took forever. I didn't think I was going to find anyone."
"Whatever happened to Maria from down the street?" Mr. Lundstrom asked. "She hasn't watched the kids in a long time."
His wife stood beside her husband and brushed her hair. "The last two times she stayed with the kids, she overcharged me; she expected almost twice as much as the Vanovers pay her." She shrugged and set the brush down on the counter. "I just decided I wouldn't ask her to babysit anymore."
Maria may never know why she lost her regular babysitting job with the Lundstroms. She may never discover that Mrs. Lundstrom stopped calling her because she felt that Maria had treated her unfairly. But then, few people realize the cost of acting unfairly or the reward of acting justly.
You see, God's commands are not intended to spoil our fun or to make our life more difficult. God didn't command us to "do justly" because he wanted to be a pain in the neck; he gave us that command and all his commands to protect us and provide for us. And his command to act justly toward each other can protect us from dishonor and disappointment, providing honor and fulfillment for us.
Take Maria, for example; if she had not overcharged the Lundstrom's but had treated them the same way she treated the Vanovers, she probably would have kept her job baby sitting the Lundstrom kids. Even if she never fully realized how acting justly benefited her, she would have enjoyed the rewards.
You may never completely realize all the ways that acting justly benefits you, either, but if you treat everyone fairly, you will nonetheless experience the protection and provision that come as a result of obeying God's commands.
REFLECT: Have you or your parents ever stopped going to a store (such as a grocery store or drugstore) or business (such as a doctor or auto mechanic) because you thought you were being cheated or treated unfairly? If you answered yes, do you think the business owner knew about losing your business?
Obeying God's commands to treat other people fairly can protect you from dishonor and provide honor for you. That does not mean that people will always recognize or appreciate your fairness; it does mean, however, that over the course of time, you will more likely be highly regarded and respected.
PRAY: "Lord, I don't often consciously think about being fair until someone treats me unfairly. Help me make fairness a way of life."