The Fairness of Grace

The Fairness of Grace

BY JUSTIN T. WHITE | September 25, 2023
Sunday’s Readings

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.

The Fairness of Grace

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.

For Reflection:

  • Where have you seen God’s fairness—grace extended to all—in your life?
4 replies
  1. sonja
    sonja says:

    Where have I seen God’s fairness extended to all in my life?
    The short answer is never.
    His Grace is demonstrated by one individual to another on a one to one basis. The mother who lost her preschool child to a drunk driver, decides not to press charges, and instead invites the young man to join her and build a memorial garden in the kindergarten her child attended. Together they rebuild their shattered lives. Justice, retribution and punishment in the legal court system have no place in God’s merciful love for all people.

  2. Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    When Justin stated that God’s thoughts are not my thoughts or God’s deeds not my deeds. We often need to listen atttentively to the words of the Gospel and carry them out in Jesus’s name. Like other virtues our sense of justice grows as we experience life and the Gosepl together. We want fairnss and justice and we need to pray and listen to God’s word. I often beleive I have the words of fairness and justice but it takes added listening and prayer to understand the will of the Holy spirit. Today let us cling to the Holy Spirit and His justice for the actions we see around us. The justice of today is the kindness, gentleness and care we have for others. Our migrant population needs justice and we need to offer it on behalf of the Lord. We’ve boxed ourselves in an untenable place and we need the graces of the Holy Spirit in order to manifest the justice of today.


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