Character Trait No. 23
Definition: Seeing a situation from the viewpoint of each person involved.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matt.7:14
Controversy surrounding America’s November presidential election illustrates people’s interest in things being fair. Without at least some semblance of fairness, America would not accept either candidate for the office of President. Thus the subject of what is fair is highlighted again.
Despite being nearly exalted to the nature of a religious temple, the sports arena does provide at least one positive benefit – a display of fairness. Paul noted this in writing young Timothy: “...if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” ( I Tim.2:5) Professional and part-time athletes alike must still abide by the rules of "fair play” lest the referee penalize them or outright eject them from the game. After all, its hard to cheat too flagrantly in plain view of thousands of avid spectators carefully watching, with rabid fans for both teams present!
Children also possess a high sense of what is fair or not fair. Just watch them when their mother divides the birthday cake. If she cuts one piece just millimeters smaller than another, the aggrieved party will whine: “It’s not fair, her piece is bigger than mine!” And if one child gets nicer Christmas gifts, strong-lunged young protestors will again raise the outcry of injustice. Then comes mother or father’s classic line, told to countless children in past ages: “Who told you that life is fair? Life is NOT fair, Johnny-boy.”
This is true. The rich still get richer and the poor still get much poorer. Some nations cannot properly feed their citizens, while others make $40,000 per capita (USA – 2000 AD). While one man eats caviar & drinks champagne in comfortable wide tilt chairs in first class, another fellow human being sits squeezed in economy class with crushed knees and no elbow room. (This author is 6’4” and flies often. Nuff said.) Who you know is more important than what you know. Powerful, influential bankers and cigar-smoking industrialists and blue-blooded elite run most of the world through their pet institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. These ruthless Darwinian humanistic materialists have set the rules favoring their insider status and leaving the teeming masses of the world in impoverishment and near slave status. Many American corporations victimize millions by their monopolistic control in third world nations. Not a pretty sight, this world under the rule of Satan.
Perhaps you think that I exaggerate? Then listen to Jesus’ judgement:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority.” Matt.20:25
James also wrote:
“Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court. Do they not blaspheme the fair name (Christian) by which you have been called?”
This world is built on inequity and foul play rather than on justice and fair play. Lest any think that this lesson is espousing socialistic communism as a solution, nothing could be further from the truth. Fair play in the marketplace with all parties abiding by the same rules – equal (not federally enforced quotas) opportunity for all – in a truly free, open market is the best solution for economic parity. Just let a man be paid what he’s really worth, and let all men get the best possible return for their labor, talents, and marketable products – fair market value –and all would benefit fairly. Governments should not interfere unduly, but enforce reasonable laws eliminating unscrupulous, illegal and unfair practices in the marketplace. The same rules should govern all.
The Lord’s church must lead the way in fairness. Especially as regards equal opportunity for all to fully know God as we are fully known by mastering the contents of the Scriptures. Paul labored to ensure that every man would be presented complete in Christ. (Col. 1:28) How sad when only a “chosen few” have more than superficial Bible knowledge. A man who is Biblically “challenged” is not truly an educated man. Fairness demands that all people have equal access to the precious life-changing truth of divine revelation.
In order for this state of affairs to prevail, then all must know all – the entire Bible. A fundamental question is whether we appreciate that God intended His saints to care enough to work hard enough to study the whole thing. Are parts of the Bible just “filler”? Or are they all divinely inspired by His creative Spirit and are necessary ingredients in perfecting Christ’s ekklesia? It seems so, when looking at such Scriptures as Jeremiah 31:31f & I John 2:21, for example. We mustn’t lazily rely on easy-to-read condensations of “what we believe” in nicely packaged, glossy pamphlets for quick superficial scanning. No, but rather, with mining lamps securely fastened, we must diligently mine out all the spiritual nuggets in the deepest and most inaccessible shafts of God’s word. This the only way all people will fairly receive God’s greatest blessings that come on the basis of our good character which is in conformity with Christ’s perfect character.
The need for all to know God equally is also necessary for all of God’s people to be unified. Otherwise, individual, bizarre opinionated interpretations and ignorant assumptions divide the church into warring factions in prejudiced, hostile camps. God has given one standard by which He will judge all nations – His unchanging word. Fair-minded persons will agree that only Creator God can fairly decide the proper standard of measurement as to what constitutes perfection.
Without an impartial referee and clearly stated rules, fairness is impossible. In my house, for example, I set the final rules, in close consultation with my capable and intelligent wife. This brings peace and contentment among my six, very different children – two Liberians, one Ghanaian-Burkinian, and three natural born. This blended family is a mini-“melting pot”. Similarly, the direct oversight by Big Daddy God through His spoken Word, the Bible, provides the fairness needed for cooperative teamwork and doctrinal unity in Christ’s church.
How to be a fair person?
- Have clear, consistent criteria by which you make decisions for settling disputes and giving out rewards.
- Have the rules clearly posted and understood at home, at school and in the workplace.
- Consider all factors that contribute to helping each individual have equal opportunity without crippling initiative or pursuit of excellence. Don’t hobble thoroughbreds (race horses) by making them plow fields, or make plow horses race in the Derby.
- Reward all equally for same performance without favoritism. Each student gets 100 if they earned it, and a congratulation slip. Don’t hold past bad behavior against them. Don’t keep a long “rap sheet” if repentance is evident, on your students, children or workers.
- Take note of individuals, personal, natural, God-given limitations and abilities; plan many various activities and goals so that they can potentially be rewarded if they do their best.
- Pray for wisdom! (James 1:5)
Since God is fair, and we must be holy as He is holy, let’s be fair, saints. God help us demonstrate this important part of Christ’s perfect character that each of us is developing with the help of His Holy Spirit.