It’s not Fair

By Caleb Keith

I cannot count the number of times I have heard the words “It’s not fair.” The phrase has left my mouth on more than one occasion, especially when I was a child. To this day, my brother and I argue about fairness when it comes to cleaning the dishes or picking up the living room. Our culture is also obsessed with fairness. The social justice movement is a shining example. Its apparent focus is not to protect the rights of individuals but instead to balance the scales. This is seen in phrases like “check your privilege,” which tries to make people see how much of an unfair advantage old white men have over minorities and women. Fairness also came into play after the recent presidential election when the popular vote differed from the electoral college. While some degree of fairness is necessary for good order, it often becomes abused by whiners and gloaters.

Fairness assumes that there are rules and standards which must be followed. This is why when a referee makes a bad call or misses a foul entirely members of the affected team start complaining about an unfair match. But let’s be honest. People don’t want things to be fair because they like or respect the rules. Nobody would complain if the ref overlooked the fouls coming from their team. The fairness card is a shallow attempt to get a leg up on the other guy. Real fairness looks like the Law; it is firm, stiff, and unmoving. Under God’s Law, all people are treated fairly, and it comes with a price. When everybody is measured fairly, no one can stand. There is no leg up on the other guy, just a guilty verdict condemning all people for their sin. Humanity doesn’t need more fairness; it needs grace.

The Gospel is unfair by all standards. Sinners and Lawbreakers are set free on no account of their own but on account of the innocent blood of Christ. The Gospel is not unfair because it denies the fair and true verdict of the Law but because Christ paid a penalty which only sinners deserve. In Christ, fairness loses its potency. The whiners and the gloaters who seek to capitalize on the fairness of the Law will find no hope in it. The only hope humanity has to escape the punishment of death is to be treated unfairly.  By the death and resurrection of Christ, sinners are given undeserved grace and, against all fairness, are declared righteous. Thanks be to God that it’s not fair!