That’s Not Fair!
How often have parents, teachers, and other watchers of kids at play heard that plaintive cry? It seems children learn at an early age that fairness is something to be cherished. Of course, wise parents teach their kids early that “Life isn’t fair.” I’ve conceived my own interpretation of the complaint. “That’s not fair” actually means “I don’t like this!”
Some people, however, hold on to the notion that things should be fair. My supervisor at work called for three volunteers to work on Saturday. Two women and I raised our hands. Then the supervisor said she intended to “pitch a fit” to get us the day off with the others. Later, I told her I knew two of us wished she wouldn’t bother. (We wanted the overtime pay.)
She said, “But it isn’t fair.”
I said, “Sometimes people don’t want what’s fair.”
There is a lot of good unfairness in the world. The Occupy Wall Street protesters insist it isn’t fair that one percent of the people own so much of the nation’s wealth. Yet, those one percent of the people have justly earned their wealth. What I consider unjust is their control of so many of the nation’s assets. Some of those wealth-creating assets need to be distributed to the poor who could use the wealth generated by those assets. (See Kelso and Adler, The Capitalist Manifesto, pg.76, 78)
Finally, of course, there is the unfair treatment given to Jesus of Nazareth.
…the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53)
It was so unfair what Jesus went through. Though he faithfully followed Yahweh’s law and gave in to no sin, he was arrested, unjustly tried, mercilessly beaten, mocked and scorned. His friends betrayed him and fled from his captors. The Jews rejected him as their King. The Romans nailed him to a cross. And Yahweh instigated it all.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer. (vs. 10)
All this was done so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
No, life isn’t fair. And it’s a good thing.