“Infuriating Unfairness” – Power to Provide a Remedy

Elder Dale G. Renlund

April 2021 General Conference Address

“In 1994, a genocide took place in the East African country of Rwanda that was partly due to deep-seated tribal tensions. Estimates are that more than half a million people were killed. Remarkably, the Rwandan people have in large part reconciled, but these events continue to reverberate.

A decade ago, while visiting Rwanda, my wife and I struck up a conversation with another passenger at the Kigali airport. He lamented the unfairness of the genocide and poignantly asked, “If there were a God, wouldn’t He have done something about it?” For this man—and for many of us—suffering and brutal unfairness can seem incompatible with the reality of a kind, loving Heavenly Father. Yet He is real, He is kind, and He loves each of His children perfectly.

…I declare with all my aching heart that Jesus Christ both understands unfairness and has the power to provide a remedy. Nothing compares to the unfairness He endured. It was not fair that He experienced all the pains and afflictions of mankind. It was not fair that He suffered for my sins and mistakes and for yours. But He chose to do so because of His love for us and for Heavenly Father. He understands perfectly what we are experiencing.

…He affirmed: “Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. … Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Because Jesus Christ endured the infinite atoning sacrifice, He empathizes perfectly with us. He is always aware of us and our circumstances.

…In unfair situations, one of our tasks is to trust that “all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ overcame the world and “absorbed” all unfairness. Because of Him, we can have peace in this world and be of good cheer. If we let Him, Jesus Christ will consecrate the unfairness for our gain. He will not just console us and restore what was lost; He will use the unfairness for our benefit.

…I return to the question posed by our fellow passenger in Kigali when he lamented the unfairness of the Rwandan genocide and asked, “If there were a God, wouldn’t He have done something about it?”

Without minimizing the suffering caused by the genocide, and after acknowledging our inability to comprehend such suffering, we replied that Jesus Christ has done something about infuriating unfairness. We explained many gospel precepts concerning Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His Church.

Afterward, our acquaintance asked, with tears in his eyes, “You mean there is something I can do for my dead parents and uncle?”

We said, “Oh, yes!” We then testified that all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that by His authority families can be joined together forever.

When faced with unfairness, we can push ourselves away from God or we can be drawn toward Him for help and support.

…Do not let unfairness harden you or corrode your faith in God. Instead, ask God for help. Increase your appreciation for and reliance on the Savior. Rather than becoming bitter, let Him help you become better. Allow Him to help you persevere, to let your afflictions be “swallowed up in the joy of Christ.” Join Him in His mission “to heal the brokenhearted,” strive to mitigate unfairness, and become a stonecatcher.

I testify that the Savior lives. He understands unfairness. The marks in the palms of His hands continually remind Him of you and your circumstances. He ministers to you in all your distress. For those who come unto Him, a crown of beauty will replace the ashes of mourning; joy and gladness will replace grief and sorrow; appreciation and celebration will replace discouragement and despair. Your faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be rewarded more than you can imagine. All unfairness—especially infuriating unfairness—will be consecrated for your gain. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”