There seems to be an ever-increasing level of verbiage going around that basically says, “That’s not fair.” We hear it in politics from candidates running for offices, “convincing” the people that they are not “getting their fair share.” We see it in businesses and workers trying to “fight” for what is “right” and “fair” for compensation. All the while, this idea of fairness negates personal responsibility and a basic understanding that “FAIR” and “UNFAIR” are in the eyes of the beholder.
I, more than anyone perhaps, like things to be fair. I am a competitor, so I like to know the rules and boundaries and for everyone to play fair. The problem with this mindset is when we bring it to the business world and quite simply, life. You see, the rules and boundaries of a sport don’t stop someone one else from having greater talent and abilities in a game. However, what we have done on a societal level, is trying to make things “equal” or “fair.” We somehow have come to believe that because someone was born into a wealthier family, or had better “luck” or more opportunities than we have ,then that is somehow that is unfair, and they should be somewhat punished for it. Why? Because it isn’t fair.
We all can think of people who have had more opportunity, better talents, and just an overall “better” experience with life than what we have. And yet we typically resent these people, don’t we? We say, “Well, if I had their opportunities, their money, their talents, their luck, etc, then I would be like them too!” Why are we making an excuse for not being at our best, by comparing ourselves to someone else? The reverse of this is also true, but we go the opposite direction. Those that are “lower,” less successful haven’t had bad luck or fewer opportunities, but rather they “have made bad decisions,” haven’t they? Is that fair?
Once again, fair and unfair are always in the eyes of the beholder. The amazing thing is that God actually speaks about this. In Matthew 20, Jesus give the parable of the workers. Essentially there is a vineyard owner, and he hires people throughout the day for a set wage. Except at the end of the day, the men that were hired and only worked a short time, received the same amount as those who had been working all day. What’s the response of the men who worked all day? ”Hey, that’s not fair!” (my paraphrase).
This is the remarkable thing about Jesus’ message: Jesus did not come to make things fair, but rather unfair.
Fair for all of us would be death. Fair would be destruction. Fair would be separation from God. When it comes to God, the last thing that we want to fairness…I want what is unfair; grace and mercy.
My challenge for all of us is this: when we look and view our lives and the lives of others, let’s try not to look at what is fair or even, but rather let’s take a look at what God has given us, and compare ourselves to the best versions of ourselves. You are not responsible to make things fair, but you are responsible for what you have been given. Let’s not stop our lives to complain about what is “unfair” and forsake the our own responsibilities. Fairness can never be the end goal. It wasn’t for Jesus…thank God for that.