What does fairness mean in our times? What role does fairness and equity play as we navigate the inner and outer workings of our lives, our world?
On one hand, this parable delivered by Jesus challenged the fundamental understanding of labor, profit, and overall work. I’m sure the listeners in the crowd grumbled as much as the workers in the story.
On the other hand, Jesus, in such a concrete, hard-to-miss way, gives one of the best explanations of God’s grace. No matter the who, the when, the how, the why, grace is extended to all. God’s grace is fair, and God’s grace is equitable.
Unfortunately, though, you and I are unable to always extend that loving grace. What gets in the way? Is it that our understanding of fairness gets warped by our misuse of power, our anger, our ignorance, our bias, our fears? How can fairness even be part of a conversation when there are those who refuse to recognize, apologize, and rectify historical harm done to individuals and groups. How can fairness even be part of the conversation when there are those that will say that the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action is just?
I’m learning more and more that my understanding and belief in justice has to always be connected to the Gospel truth. I need to seek the Lord because God’s thoughts are not my thoughts, and his ways are above my ways. I have most certainly grumbled against my neighbor at times when I could have celebrated them. To truly embody the message of, “The last will be first, and the first will be last,” is a hard challenge but a beautiful call.
- Where have you seen God’s fairness—grace extended to all—in your life?
Justin T. White is a middle school counselor, admissions associate, and clubs and activities coordinator at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland.