COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Life is not fair, it is just.
The type of fairness I am talking about is when the term is used to imply strict equality with no room for understanding matters beyond numbers and figures.
That is not justice. Many people can be wronged in the name of being fair by that measure.
True justice, rather, is measured against equity.
As much as I am a lover of mathematics and equations, this is a topic in which I have to put down those tools in favor of more suitable ones.
When we discuss topics like fairness and justice, we’re most likely really talking about accepting God’s decree. God and His actions are above all calculations, so trying to understand what He has decreed or not decreed for us cannot be understood by any equation of fairness.
The trap many of us fall into is internalizing notions that what has occurred in our lives has not been fair to us. We get lost in comparing exactly what others have to what we have. Nurturing that very dangerous idea is a good way to become an undertaker.
When we engage in this negative internal dialogue we start looking at others and envying them, wishing less for them. The happiness-killing sense of scarcity creeps in (or blows down the doors) and overtakes us.
That’s a precarious position that takes a long course to reverse. We should be on careful guard to avoid this trap.
What it takes to have an inkling of understanding of God’s justice towards all of His creation, is insight – not equations. Trying to understand our lives with equations will not compute. We will end up in error.
Using the measure of equity helps develop this insight. Equity, departing from absolute equality, is the placing of resources where they are most at need.
Fairness says everyone should eat the same portion of the meal at dinner, no matter how old, no matter if they are a man, woman, or child.
Equity says the portion is distributed according to the needs of each member at the table.
This requires a bespoke decision at every turn. Only a being with omniscience of every creature’s specific needs at every single moment in time can know what is equitable. That is not the job of human beings. You already know Who the only one for that job is.
So leave Him to it.
People who want to play the role of God try and apply equations of fairness to judge situations.
People who see, with their endowed insight, the absurdity of that situation are able to believe in God’s equity. They are in awe of it and do not attempt to play His role. Instead they play their own. The role of giver.
Givers, those with a sense of abundance, nurture the positive feeling that more for others is more for them. They can see that life is not fair, but be amazed at the equity of the whole affair.
They see that their lives are exactly as they are meant to be, as is everyone else’s on earth. They may have certain privileges that others do not have, and others may have certain privileges that they do not have.
But that is not the point.
The point is to know the resources we do have and place them in their proper places of addressing need. Others have the same role to play with the resources they have been so wisely allotted.
Don’t get caught up in the scam of fairness. The point is to play your role.