Getting what you deserve

I do have a problem with the notion that ‘we get what we deserve’.

Our culture teaches us that whatever we get we should work for, earn and deserve. If we work hard, and if we treat other people well, then life will go well for us. We hear people say, ‘Enjoy your holiday, you deserve it,’ as if working hard gives them a right to a reward.

Sometimes hard work does get its rewards – as my grandson, Zak, found with his GCSE results last summer. But do we always get what we deserve? The abused child, the mother in the refugee camp or my friend on a high dose of antidepressants because of his workload? Do they really deserve that?

We have seen this even more clearly in the past month as the threat of coronavirus has come to all – not just those who deserve it. In many cases just the opposite is true – it is coming to those who don’t deserve it. Good people, including doctors, nurses and carers, are contracting and dying from the disease.

So today is Easter Sunday, and the Christian message of Easter is certainly not limited to the deserving – in fact quite the reverse.

The Good Friday story is the ultimate example of a good man getting what he didn’t deserve; traditional Christian faith teaches that the result of this is ‘grace’ – ordinary people getting what they don’t deserve.

The Easter story of resurrection goes one stage further, that the unexpected and miraculous brings hope and peace, in both life and death, to all, irrespective of our hard work, abilities or achievement.

Happy Easter. May God give us what we don’t deserve. 

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