Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who Believes in Fairness?

Fairness is a principle I hear touted a lot. Referees and Umpires are challenged about the fairness of their decisions on the field and later in the clubhouse or the locker room, but these choices are not based on whether the decision was fair to all parties, but whether they followed the rules of the game. 

Fairness in the courtroom is measured by whether all parties are represented by a lawyer who is an expert in the law. When one person is wealthy and the other poor, the law may seem weighted by factors that extend beyond the domain of the rulings the court can make, and suddenly it's not fair. No, the world is not fair.

Bosses and teachers are expected to treat everyone under their direction fairly, but some have an advantage of intelligence, talent, or humility. Some people are bolder, quicker, or more receptive, and these characteristics are often viewed as an unfair advantage by others.

So what makes life fair? Are we guaranteed fairness? I don't think we are. In God's system we are guaranteed mercy. That's several levels better than fairness. We are accepted with all our faults, and even our sins, just by our faith in the efficacy of the sacrifice of Jesus to satisfy God's judgment on the world. If we want to play the fairness game with God, there is only one avenue: righteousness. God does not dabble in fairness. 

His requirement is always righteousness, but he knows we are incapable of righteousness and uses a new standard: mercy. Our only responsibility in mercy is reception. We are obligated to accept God's mercy and respond in its light. We don't have to correct our stupidity, but we must always remember that we stand before God in mercy. We are not righteous, but mercy gives us the opportunity to stand before him just because he wants it that way. We are not righteous, but he allows us to approach him because of his goodness, not ours, because of his mercy.

Don't try to please God on the basis of your goodness. Don't appeal to him because you have done good things and been kind. Only call on him in the name of his mercy. Seek only mercy, not justice.

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