When my brothers and sister and I were growing up being fair was an important notion. It was how we divided cake and chores. It was how we sought advantage from our parents and how we complained about them. When we were small, our mother constantly urged us to be fair with one another. As we grew older, however, her admonition “Be fair” changed to “Be as loving as you can.” It wasn’t an easy transition.
Sometimes loving instead of being fair meant that I got the smallest piece and did the biggest jobs sometimes it meant that I got the biggest piece and the smallest job (I don’t remember that happening too often, though). Gradually it dawned on us kids that though fairness was sometimes a useful rule of thumb, there were much more important considerations. First of all, we had to do what was the best for the family because everyone depended on it. We also had to take care of the one least able to take care of him or her self because we had to move forward together.
No mature adult, certainly no Christian, views fairness as an ultimate virtue. Our Creator, who certainly has a right to all our love and service doesn’t look for fairness. Jesus’ life and especially his death demonstrated that. Jesus constantly urged us to move beyond fairness. In our personal and political relationships fairness is never good enough. We can’t be satisfied with it.
Love, not fairness, is the touchstone of our faith.