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Have you ever had something happen to you which caused you to think, "This isn't fair!"? Ken Wyniemko sure has. Just like Paul, he was locked away for a crime that he did not commit. In 1994, he was convicted by a jury based of a horrible crime against a young woman on the basis of a mistaken identification by the victim and fabricated testimony by a jailhouse snitch. He was sentenced to 40 to 60 years in prison for something he did not do.

Ten years later, however, DNA testing showed that he could not have been the man who committed the crime, and he was released from prison. Did he feel that what happened to him wasn't fair? You better believe it! In fact, he felt that it wasn't fair for him or for the victim. He realized that while he was locked up, the real person who hurt the victim was walking around free. It wasn't fair that he was in jail while the real criminal was walking free.

Have you ever felt like "it's just not fair"? Maybe you feel that your life has been just like driving some old car with the shock absorbers going out down some gravel road with lots of potholes. You have had a rough road in life.

Earlier we were talking about how some people derive joy from their family and jobs and activities and money. Maybe you feel like you really got short-changed in some of those. Maybe you look around at the people who seem to have it all, while you feel like you have nothing, and you say, "It's just not fair! Why can't I have those things too?"

Keeping with the driving analogy, perhaps you have not had a rough road in life so much as you have hit a patch of ice that has your life spinning out of control. Perhaps some crisis has occurred--a job crisis, or financial crisis, or family crisis, or health crisis--and you think, "Why me? It's just not fair!"

Most of us have felt that way at one time or another. Certainly Ken Wyniemko did. It was not fair that he was in prison when he had done nothing wrong. It was not fair that the real criminal was walking the streets. Ken correctly feels that the police, prosecutors, and the real perpetrator cost him ten years of his life--ten years that he would never get back. Yet, he refuses to allow himself to become angry or bitter. In a recent interview, he related how people sometimes ask him why he isn't angry over what happened to him. Ken says that he tells them that "you cannot allow yourself to become angry. Anger will kill you. It will distort your mind and make you unable to focus." So, how did he survive his time in jail, when it seemed that life was so unfair? He says, "I prayed and I prayed and I prayed."

(Source: Sandra Svoboda, "Beyond Innocence," Detroit Metro Times (July 2, 2008) at From a sermon by Joe La Rue, "The Source of True Joy" 7/17/08)

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