I’ve recently discovered that there are all sorts of sayings about what fair is. They are meant to be responses to the exclamation, “That’s not fair!” I already knew the one about fair being a place where men in overalls toss cow chips. Apparently fair is also a place where you eat cotton candy and ride the ferris wheel. Now fair has become a place where they fry almost anything imaginable and we will buy it and eat it.
The definition of fair is a place where items are exhibited, judged, or sold. It can also be a carnival. Life is sometimes as noisy, entertaining, smelly, and crooked as a carnival, but it’s not fair.
Most of us try to teach our children to be fair and by that we mean just. We try to teach them to play by the rules and do what is right, even if those around them are not playing by the rules or doing what is right. Our children often complain that it’s not fair. They are right. It’s not fair. Adults complain about that too.
Why do the wicked prosper? It’s not fair. Why are some hard-working people not be able to make a living wage? It’s not fair. Why do some people have advantages handed to them just because of who their parents are or where they were born or the color of their skin? It’s not fair.
Nope, it’s not fair.
Confession: the actual verse presented to me for today is a couple of verses after the one I chose to use. But as I read the preceding verses in order to put them in context, I found I was far more interested in the concept of fair than in rehashing more clean heart stuff.
In Ezekiel 17:29 we hear, “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?”
The people of Israel, the people of God, the Chosen people are complaining to God that other people, people who are wicked and have done bad things, are being forgiven and in turn are allowed to live. They exclaim to God, “It’s not fair!”
You can argue with God all day long as much as you want. God can take it. But I’ll tell you right now, you are not going to win the argument.
God tells the people of Israel, “Seriously? My ways are unfair? If the wicked see they are on the wrong path and turn back toward me, they shall live. I don’t have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. I only have pleasure when people turn back toward me and they will live. Y’all are the ones who think you should have special privileges because somebody mentioned you were Chosen. But I’ve got news for you, being Chosen doesn’t mean you don’t ever need to repent and turn back toward me. Y’all just need to worry about yourselves and repent.”
In other words, keep trying to do what is right and work for justice and let God sort out the fate of others.