This Mud’s for You


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Bible Reading: Psalm 106:1-3

Happy are those who deal justly with others and always do what is right.   Psalm 106:3

IN THE COMIC strip bearing their names, Calvin and Hobbes are a little boy and his stuffed tiger companion. The strip, created by cartoonist Bill Watterson, is one of the most popular comic strips ever created.

In one series of panels, Calvin and his tiger friend are walking together through the woods. Calvin tells his pal, “I don’t believe in ethics anymore. As far as I’m concerned, the ends justify the means.” He pounds a fist into his palm and continues, “Get what you can while the getting’s good—that’s what I say! Might makes right! The winners write the history books! It’s a dog-eat-dog world, so I’ll do whatever I have to, and let others argue about whether it’s ‘right’ or not.”

Suddenly, Hobbes spies a mud puddle. He stops, smiles, and shoves Calvin into the puddle.

“Hey!” Calvin screams. “Why’d you do that?!

Hobbes squats beside his screaming friend. “You were in my way,” he answers. “Now you’re not. The ends justify the means.”

Calvin pulls himself up and starts scraping the mud off his arms. “I didn’t mean for everyone, you dolt! Just me!”

Hobbes may be just a stuffed tiger (although he’s real to Calvin), but he’s on to something. A lot of people do what Calvin was doing. They try to define right and wrong themselves. They tell themselves that they can do whatever they think is right. But they change their tune if someone else acts that way. “Hey!” they’ll cry. “You can’t do that! It’s not fair!”

That’s because everybody knows that some things are fair and some things are not fair. And fair isn’t whatever we say it is; fair is what God says it is. And God’s Word says this is fair: “Do for others what you would like them to do for you” (Mat­thew 7:12).

In other words, fairness asks, “How would I like to be treated?” Unfairness says, “This is different” or “I’m special.” But if fairness only applies to other people but not to you—well, that’s not fair, is it?

REFLECT: What important question will a fair person ask? How would an unfair person answer that question? Who derides what is fair or not fair? Do you ever try to excuse your actions by saying, “This is different” or “I’m special?” Have you been unfair to anyone today? this week? If so, what could you do to make things fair?

PRAY: “God, please help me to be fair with others and always do what is right. Help me not to excuse myself by thinking, This is different or I’m special, but to treat other people the way I would like to be treated.”


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