Connections 09.05.2021: Fairness

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

“It’s not fair.” From an early age, most of us understand what injustice feels like. My sibling got more presents than I did on my birthday. The referee favored the other team. My best friend had a romantic relationship, but no one gave me a second glance. That classmate got a new car for their sixteenth birthday, and I have to borrow my mom’s. This certainly continues into adulthood. He got the promotion, though I’m more qualified. My spouse expects me to do the majority of the housework. My friends travel to exotic places, while I rarely even go out to eat. It’s not fair.

When we step back and take a wider view, of course, we see that many of these complaints of unfairness are self-focused. What I deserve. What I should have. What rightfully belongs to me. Most of these complaints are easily forgiven, simple to resolve, or best forgotten. Over and over again, Scripture calls us to a much wider view of justice—one that doesn’t revolve around me.

Right now in Afghanistan, citizens are suffering, their lives are threatened, and their progress is halted by the Taliban’s recent resurgence. It’s not fair.

Right now in Haiti, residents mourning hundreds of loved ones who died in an earthquake are struggling to survive after a devastating hurricane tore through their already-destroyed homes and buildings. They are thirsty, hungry, desperate for shelter. It’s not fair.

Right now in many areas of the world, people are gasping for air, dying from COVID-19, wishing they’d had a way to get the vaccine that so many Americans have been privileged to refuse. It’s not fair.

Right now in the United States, the Black community and the Asian community are enduring continued prejudice, discrimination, and mistreatment due to their race and ethnicity. It’s not fair.

Right now in Middle Georgia, family members, friends, and a community are mourning the death of a tenth grade girl from complications of osteosarcoma, a bone cancer she had battled for two years. It’s not fair.

Today’s proverbs specifically mention the poor, but their truths can be applied to the oppressed, the devastated, the sick, and the grieving. These nuggets of wisdom tell us two main truths: God is on the side of the needy, and those of us who are able should help take care of them. Living in this broken world creates millions of unfair situations. May we remember that God, the maker of us all, pleads the cause of the needy (vv. 2, 23). And may we embrace our calling to share what we have with those who don’t have (v. 9). If we do, perhaps things will start to seem a little more fair.

Discussion

• What is your experience with “everyday” injustice? When has something not felt fair to you?
• How has your perception of fairness changed since you were a child? What drove this change?
• None of us have a say in where we are born and how we grow up as children. How does your life differ from the lives of people in struggling places around the world? Is this fair?
• What is God’s idea of fairness or justice?
• How do today’s proverbs encourage you to look for injustice around you and do something about it? What other Scriptures speak to this?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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