Fair or Unfair?

October 1, 2017

How often have we heard the words, “that is not fair!”? I imagine parents hear it quite a bit.  How often do we use those words, “that is so unfair!”  So what is fair?   So often we base our internal compass of fairness on what we want.  It is at the core of some self-serving need.  Growing up I would hear the phrase “all is fair in love and war.”  People said this when someone got hurt.  God’s ways are not our ways.  We see stories in the news about incidents and lawsuits.  We weigh in on them based on what we feel is fair.  Our sense of justice comes from a place of what we feel is right based on our experiences, every book we have read, every movie we have seen and the outlets of media we listen to.  We sometimes feed our prejudices.  Fair or unfair; the whole class gets punished for the actions of just two students?   That could be easy to answer for some.  One question that could reveal our answer is knowing what the situation is, if the rest of the class watched the action without stopping it and did the class take on a role of cheering the situation on.  Not as simple as it sounds. When a parent tells a child they can no longer use the car or there are limits in place for the usage of electronics; fair or unfair?   When parents tell their children they must follow the rules as long as they live under their roof; fair or unfair?  Many times when I heard those things I would stomp up the stairs to my room, making sure everyone knew I was not happy.  Logic and reason did not enter into my judgment, but rather my source for justice was my one sense of self and what I wanted to do.  Fairness is based on what I wanted, not what was best for me.

Today God invites us to explore how He views what is fair.  He longs to overcome injustice with a love that transforms.  God’s ways are far from being our ways.  God does not define us by our sins, but by grace.  He sends His only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins; fair or unfair?  He tells us that He forgives us our sins; fair or unfair?   God wants what is best for us.  God wants us to live in union with Him in heaven.  His sense of justice and judgment of what is fair is so above ours.  In the second reading God’s invites us to embrace a new definition of justice.  Paul tells us “do nothing out of selfishness.”  Jesus shows us that way.  He gave His very life, not out of selfishness, but out of love, knowing that by paying for our sins, we would have life eternal. Fair or unfair?

Reverend John J. Ouper