If you have kids, work with kids or ever been a kid, you know the phrase, "NO FAIR!" Can you remember when you worried about who was going to get the left over cookie or the bigger piece of cake? That was really important stuff! And, of course, there was always the one kid who cheated at Monopoly or whatever game. I have a cousin who cheated (or tried to) no matter what game we were playing. He drove my brother (that other kind of kid: the fairness police) absolutely over the edge. We didn’t finish a lot of games when that cousin came over. Not only did his cheating take all the fun out of the game for everyone else, but my brother and I could never figure out how you could be happy about winning when you knew you’d won dishonestly. Hmmm…still don’t get it.
Anyway, now that we’re all grown up, we are still acutely aware of the fairness (or unfairness) of certain situations. How many times have you watched someone you work with cheat or lie his (or her) way to a promotion, even when he’s not the best person for the job? Maybe you’ve been the victim of some workplace cheater. Isn’t it infuriating to watch someone get away with something and not get caught? Sometimes I feel like just standing up and yelling, “That’s No Fair!”
Solomon talks about the unfairness of life, (even though lots of people would say that he has nothing to complain about):
There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous; I said that this also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 8:14
As humans, we take equity very seriously. Most of us want things to come out fairly at the end of the day. But, somebody’s always gotta cheat, gotta get the bigger piece of cake…no matter what.
So, what is fair? What is equity? Is it like what they were trying to do in the French Revolution where nobody was supposed to be higher socially or politically above anyone else? Or is equity more about “getting what you deserve”?
How many companies can you think of that play on our sense of entitlement to sell us the product. Do you remember the L’Oreal commercial that always ended with, “because I’m worth it”? Is that what fairness comes down to? Everyone getting what he (or she) thinks he deserves? You hear lots of people say things like that all the time. “I deserve a raise.” “I deserve to be treated better at work.” “I’ve earned a vacation.” “I have the right to speak my mind.”
So, have you ever stopped to think about just exactly what we do deserve? That can be a sobering experience, because if, in all fairness, God gave us what we’ve earned, what we have a right to, we would have to be destroyed. Scary, huh? Do we really want true fairness in the sense that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”? Think about this:
“’There is none righteous, no, not one,There is none who understands,There is none who seeks after God,They have all turned aside;They have together become unprofitable;There is none who does good, no, not one.’‘Their throat is an open tomb;With their tongues they have practiced deceit’;‘The poison of asps is under their lips’;‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.’‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;Destruction and misery are in their ways;And the way of peace they have not known.’‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:10-20
Not a pretty picture! Is it fair that Jesus was treated the way He was? Nothing’s fair about that!
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5
Okay, we can be glad that we are not treated at all as we deserve to be treated, as long as we accept Christ’s sacrifice on our account. The thing to remember is that, no matter how things look now, it’ll all be fair when Jesus comes again. It’s not what’s fair and not fair now, but for eternity, that’s important.
Remember Jonah? He went and told the people to repent (finally). He didn’t really expect them to and when they did, he got a little cranky. He didn’t think they deserved to get out of being destroyed, even after they repented.
Hmmmm. Are we a little bit like that sometimes? Wait, be honest. I’m not talking about the guy down the street who walks his dog in your yard or the woman at work who “borrows” things from people's lunches in the fridge. If we saw them in Heaven we’d probably be okay with that. But, careful now, what if we’re walking through Heaven and we see Jeffrey Daumer? Or the BTK Killer? Or Pontias Pilate? Stalin, Mussolini, Attila the Hun, Hitler? What would we do? Run up and congratulate them for accepting Christ’s cleansing blood for their sins? Or frown and wonder if maybe there’d been some mistake.
True, if someone asked us if Jesus died for everybody, we’d answer a quick and sure affirmative…but really, deep down, do we really WANT it to be? Tough question. Do we trust God enough to know who gets to go to Heaven?
When we get right down to it, a sin’s a sin, right? Maybe I haven’t killed anyone or been an evil dictator, but I have felt hate. I have envied, lied, put something or someone before God. Maybe not outwardly, but in my heart, I have broken ALL of the commandments. Am I any less a sinner than those notorious bad guys I listed before? Did Jesus die for me more than He died for them?
I think that is the true miracle of God’s justice/fairness. It’s big enough for every single person who ever lived, no matter how good or bad that person looks to us, God knows that person intimately, and loves him and sent His Son to die for him, and you, and me.
Okay, so let’s make a plan to meet in Heaven and check out who else made it…aren’t you glad it’s not up to us?