Tag Archives: fairness

“It’s Not Fair!”

Story of the Day for Tuesday September 11, 2012

 

“It’s Not Fair!”

 

                                 Mercy triumphs over judgment.  

                                                                              James 2:13

 

 

Many complain that mercy is unfair, and, of course, they’re absolutely right: it is unfair. Is it ever right to bend the rules for a higher cause than fairness?

 

In 2002, Jake Porter attended Northwest High School in McDermott, Ohio – even though he couldn’t read. Jake had Fragile X Syndrome – the most common form of genetic mental retardation.

Yet, Jake was unfailingly cheerful and loved by his classmates. The Homecoming Queen, at the big dance, chose Jake as her escort. Doug Montavon, the school’s all-time rushing leader, doted on Jake and helped him along during football practice.

 

The last football game of the season saw Northwest take a thumping from Waverly High. With five seconds left, Waverly was leading 42-0 when Northwest coach, Dave Frantz called a time out and met with Waverly’s coach, Derek Dewitt.

Coach Frantz told Dewitt that he wanted to send in Jake Porter, who would be handed the ball and would simply take a knee. But Dewitt was having none of it. He returned to the sidelines and told his defense that when the ball was handed to number 54, they were not to touch him, but make sure he scored.

When the quarterback handed Jake the ball, he ran to the line, stopped, and, confused, started running the wrong way. But the referee and players from both teams pointed him toward the goal line.

Jake sliced through the line and galloped for daylight. When he crossed the goal line everyone went wild. Players from both teams were hugging each other. Players from both teams hoisted Jake on their shoulders. Jake’s mom, Liz, said there were no longer two teams out there. “Everybody was on the same team.”

 

Jake’s touchdown run was, of course, unfair – and, with the ref’s assistance, illegal. The sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette whined that if mentally challenged kids want to compete, let them do it in the Special Olympics. “Leave high school football alone, and for heaven’s sake, don’t put the fix in.” Other voices joined him.

No one argues that Jake’s touchdown was fair. It was clearly compassionate. But afterward, people became friendlier. Coach Dewitt, the first black coach in the history of the conference, found racial slurs replaced by people approaching him in grocery stores to shake his hand. He was no longer a black man; he was a man. Dewitt said he caught the school bully patiently teaching a couple of special-needs students how to shoot a basketball. Coach Frantz even got a phone call from Steve Mariucci, the head coach of the 49ers, because his NFL players were so touched by Jake’s touchdown.

 

It’s not fair that any of us should be reunited with God. But I hope you won’t mind if Jesus bends the rules of fairness so that, in the end, mercy will triumph.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

Peek From Under Your Blindfold

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)

 

 

“It’s Not Fair!”

Story of the Day for Monday June 27, 2011

“It’s Not Fair!”

                                  Mercy triumphs over judgment.  

                                                      James 2:13

 Many complain that mercy is unfair, and, of course, they’re absolutely right: it is unfair. Is it ever right to bend the rules for a higher cause than fairness?

 

In 2002, Jake Porter attended Northwest High School in McDermott, Ohio – even though he couldn’t read. Jake had Fragile X Syndrome – the most common form of genetic mental retardation.

Yet, Jake was unfailingly cheerful and loved by his classmates. The Homecoming Queen, at the big dance, chose Jake as her escort. Doug Montavon, the school’s all-time rushing leader, doted on Jake and helped him along during football practice.

 

The last football game of the season saw Northwest take a thumping from Waverly High. With five seconds left, Waverly was leading 42-0 when Northwest coach, Dave Frantz called a time out and met with Waverly’s coach, Derek Dewitt.

Coach Frantz told Dewitt that he wanted to send in Jake Porter, who would be handed the ball and would simply take a knee. But Dewitt was having none of it. He returned to the sidelines and told his defense that when the ball was handed to number 54, they were not to touch him, but make sure he scored.

When the quarterback handed Jake the ball, he ran to the line, stopped, and, confused, started running the wrong way. But the referee and players from both teams pointed him toward the goal line.

Jake sliced through the line and galloped for daylight. When he crossed the goal line everyone went wild. Players from both teams were hugging each other. Players from both teams hoisted Jake on their shoulders. Jake’s mom, Liz, said there were no longer two teams out there. “Everybody was on the same team.”

 

Jake’s touchdown run was, of course, unfair – and, with the ref’s assistance, illegal. The sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette whined that if mentally challenged kids want to compete, let them do it in the Special Olympics. “Leave high school football alone, and for heaven’s sake, don’t put the fix in.” Other voices joined him.

No one argues that Jake’s touchdown was fair. It was clearly compassionate. But afterward, people became friendlier. Coach Dewitt, the first black coach in the history of the conference, found racial slurs replaced by people approaching him in grocery stores to shake his hand. He was no longer a black man; he was a man. Dewitt said he caught the school bully patiently teaching a couple of special-needs students how to shoot a basketball. Coach Frantz even got a phone call from Steve Mariucci, the head coach of the 49ers, because his NFL players were so touched by Jake’s touchdown.

 

It’s not fair that any of us should be reunited with God. But I hope you won’t mind if Jesus bends the rules of fairness so that, in the end, mercy will triumph.

                                                      (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)