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Fair or Just?

I was thinking this morning about the wonderful day that just was celebrated by millions of people all over the world. Jesus, who was once dead, is alive and interceding for us. I was thinking about how unfairly he was treated. How unfair it was for him to be beaten and mocked, when His message was love and reconciliation. I was thinking about how unfair it was to be crucified, clearly not a punishment worthy of His innocence. I was thinking how unfair it was for him to be mocked with a crown, of thorns nonetheless, and to suffer the weight of the sin of the world on His Spirit. Not just the sin of the liars and cheaters, but also of the murderers and rapists. So unfair.

I was immediately reminded of something my life coach, Dr. Rhoden, said to me last year. “God is not always fair, but He is always just.” My mind quickly rewinded to my childhood days of punishment. I remember declaring to my parents that the punishment I was receiving, “Was not fair!”. But they were being just. They were upholding the precedent set before me. They had established boundaries, being the ones with authority, and I broke those boundaries.

It didn’t change when I got older. The boundaries were still in existence, they were just enforced by an even greater authority than my parents. The law. When I get caught speeding, I expect to get a ticket. That has happened far to many times. Sure, there have been a few times when I truly and honestly did not see the speed limit change, and I felt because of my ignorance the ticket was unfair. I received the ticket anyway. Those who are in authority set the boundaries, we choose to follow or suffer the consequences.

In this world, we have the opportunity to occasionally flex our human muscle and change boundaries. We see it all the time. Television shows were once very clean and reserved, but we flexed our muscles to the authorities and now they project violence and sex for entertainment. We would call this fair.

Marriage was established since the beginning of time as for a man and woman. We have flexed our muscles and now states all across the country and countries across the world are permitting same sex marriages. We would call this fair.

Law now determines what can and cannot be considered moral. Law is not based on conviction, it’s based on convenience. What is allowed to exist as law are the items that create order and at the same time offer as much freedom as possible. We flexed our human muscle and removed morality from law, but replaced it with nothing. We would call this fair.

But a Savior dying for the sins of the world… this we would call unfair.

So fair becomes what is palatable to our senses and desires, unfair becomes what gets in the way of us having our way. It’s always been like this, since you were a child, since I have been an adult. We consistently reject the concept of anyone “telling us what to do” even if the words being proclaimed are just, albeit not necessarily fair.

We desire fair, we crave fair, until we have been hurt. Then we desire justness. It’s ironic how quickly our pleasure justifies our desire for uninhibited freedom, but our pain questions the freedom of others and beckons justness.

God, being the supreme authority is not always fair. He does not always give us what we feel we are entitled to. He does, however, give us what we need, whether we want it or not. One day we’ll want what He is giving. Hopefully it won’t be too late. But being God, he is the authority. He has the power to set the boundaries and the consequences that follow. We don’t find these boundaries fair all of the time, but they are established regardless of our feelings. Is any of this really to unreasonable to understand? For many, yes. The result is we proclaim God doesn’t exist, that way there will be no supreme authority over us and we can establish our own boundaries.

This argument isn’t made by the scientist, it’s made by the absentee father. It’s made by the drug addicted mother. It’s made by the suicidal mass murder. It’s made by the rapist. It’s made by the pedophile. It’s made by the liar, the cheater, the thief, the adulterer, and the gossiper. After all, according to their boundaries, they are fair in their decisions and free in their actions. But make not mistake about it, they are not just.

So I guess in the end, we do have a decision. We can be desire fairness or we can desire justness, but we cannot desire both. We cannot cry freedom and condemn those who act freely.

This is our quandary as Christians. We want to be fair to those around us, but our God desires justness. Just because I want it to be fair, doesn’t mean it is. If history has taught us anything, it’s that fair is not always beneficial. So while I’m on this planet I’ll serve and love those around me. I will openly communicate the love of Christ and encourage them to live according to the boundaries the highest authority has created for us. I will attempt to shelter the widow, defend the orphan, and love those who society has deemed unloveable. I will follow the words of Christ and the message of redemption to those whose freedom has resulted in unwanted and unforeseen pain. I will encourage people to leave their freedom behind and experience a new freedom found in the love of Christ.

Some will, some won’t. But at least when we stand before God, in all fairness, we can expect one thing to be present. Justness.

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