Last week I started a series on “WWJD.” As I said then, I don’t have a theology degree, but I don’t think that’s a requirement for figuring out what Jesus would do. We can all read. We can all step out of our narratives for a minute and listen to him.
So WWJD on the topic of fairness? Is he the one that came up with the concept of one person breaking the candy bar in half and the other person choosing?
Um, I don’t know, but he once called his disciples together and told them, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28
Talk about turning conventional wisdom upside down. The greats are the servants amongst us.
According to Jesus, that’s fair.
Here’s another “fairness doctrine.” “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul spoke this to some early Christ followers. Today, it would be like him saying, “Hey, if you think you’re supreme, cut it out. You need to start seeing each other as equals.” According to Jesus, that’s fair.
(Are we ever gonna get that one?)
But there’s something troubling about the topic of fairness. Life isn’t fair. What’s fair about one soul being born in Afghanistan and another in the U.S.? I have no idea where to go with this, except that maybe fairness isn’t always the point. Good things don’t necessarily go to the most deserving. Bad things don’t necessarily happen to the most wretched. So…two things come to mind. One is that we can make the most of the life we’ve been given and two, we can share from our bounty if we’re able.
I don’t understand why life is unfair, but I can use unfairness as a goad. The author, Hugo Claus, said it this way. “I am a person who is unhappy with things as they stand. We cannot accept the world as it is. Each day we should wake up foaming at the mouth because of the injustice of things.”
Maybe we’re supposed to have a hand in fairness. Maybe that’s what Jesus had in mind.