Story of the Day for Tuesday May 29, 2012
Peek From Under Your Blindfold
Warn those who are lazy, cheer up those who are discouraged, assist the weak . . .
1 Thessalonians 5:14
“That’s not fair!” is the common chorus of kids everywhere. I used to think kids had a heightened sense of justice, but I don’t any longer. In a classic case of overreaction, I now maintain kids don’t know beans about fairness.
Kids only grouse about unfairness when the situation isn’t working to their advantage. Tell them the old folks get to go first in line at a potluck and they’ll moan, “That’s not fair!” Announce, instead, that kids get to go first, and their laments about injustice evaporate.
Lately, however, I’ve begun to question my own understanding of justice.
I’ve always thought of justice as equality: equal treatment for all. The statue of Lady Justice outside the U.S. Supreme Court wears a blindfold. Blind equality under the law is such a noble sentiment, it will be all the more challenging to explain why I no longer believe in it.
Justice, I believe, is not about equal treatment; it’s about fair treatment.
Imagine two guys, each in a hot rod. They gun their engines at a stop light, burn rubber when the light turns green, and race down the street. Now, imagine a little girl who accidentally ate peanuts, to which she is highly allergic, and is unable to breath. Her frantic father rushes her to the hospital. Both the hot rodders and the desperate father are clocked at twenty miles over the speed limit. Should they receive equal treatment under the law?
I hope the judge peeks from under his blindfold.
I once knew two pastors who served in the same congregation. We’ll call them Fred and Josh. The two would argue over who got to make the monthly visit to Mrs. Sexton’s apartment. Although too old and frail to attend worship, Mrs. Sexton always welcomed her pastors’ visits with a broad smile and a plate of homemade cream buns.
After making the latest call on Mrs. Sexton, Fred consoled his partner by telling Josh he saved a cream bun for him. But when Josh started devouring the bun he discovered that Fred had taken out the cream and had replaced it with shaving cream.
A few weeks later, Fred and Josh shared a hotel room at a pastor’s conference. Josh was looking out the hotel room window with his binoculars when he shouted, “Fred! Look at this eagle in the pine tree!”
Fred snatched the binoculars but couldn’t find the bird. Josh told him it had flown away. He didn’t tell Fred, however, that he put graphite on the eyepieces. With two black circles around his eyes, Fred attended that evening’s banquet, and only discovered when he returned to his room why the other pastor’s kept giving him quizzical looks.
If Fred or Josh had pulled those stunts on an enemy, the reaction would be fury. But because of their close friendship, they’re still laughing over the pranks they used to play on each other.
The Bible says that all people are created in God’s image. We’re all equal in worth. But Jesus doesn’t demand we treat all people equally; he calls us to treat all people appropriately — and that means we should warn one, cheer up another, and put shaving cream in another’s cream bun.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)