Fairness vs. Justice

Chris Genetti is pastor at Living Waters Tabernacle of Exeter.

Christian believers confess God to be sovereign, perfectly righteous, and full of love. We also acknowledge that this great example is how we should be living our day-to-day lives. King Solomon wrote, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.” This is a cornerstone of our belief system. We believe that God is our ultimate judge, and we believe His justice to be perfect. If God is the personification of love and justice, and if we are doing our best to serve Him, can we be assured a fair existence?

Moses and the Israelites broke into jubilee and musical expression once they were safely across and through the Red Sea. They sang, “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice” (Deut. 33:4). Fairness and justice have very similar definitions. Often the words are interchangeable. Both words infer that each person receives their just due; no person should receive more, or none less than they rate. The Apostle Peter rightly depicts God’s fairness in regards to each person, regardless of their stature, wealth, or even influence. “In truth, I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him,” (Acts 10:34).

In the Parable of the “Sheep and the Goats,” Jesus contrasts certain behaviors that will result in an eternity of Heaven or Hell. Rewards will be stored up in Heaven for people that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and even shelter the homeless. However, He warns that the opposite will result in damnation, “He will also say depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food. I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me.” This begs the question, especially if a person has fallen upon hard times themselves, is it fair that I be my brother’s keeper?

Regardless of our personal state of circumstances, all through the scriptures we are constantly reminded to be just and merciful. The prophet Isaiah writes, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Furthermore, the prophet Micah emphasizes that God has already provided a perfect example for us to follow: “He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God,” (Micah 6:8). Asaph, the great musician for King David, wrote, “Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.”

A God who is primarily characterized as fair, would be devoid of mercy, grace, and compassion. If we regarded fairness over righteousness from God, would it be fair to expect from Him entrance into the Kingdom, even though we committed previous sin? More explicitly, was it fair when Jesus left Paradise in order to suffer on the cross that you and I would have an opportunity to be reconciled with God? Life is not always fair; but I promise you, God is always just! Notice that in none of the scripture referenced above are we to be merciful and kind only if we find ourselves in perfect of circumstances. If you feel life has been unfair lately, I challenge you to be kind to a stranger. You never know when you may be entertaining angels! Jesus remarked, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Community Church.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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