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I don’t use this F word

I don’t use this F word September 3, 2015

I’ll never forget the first cuss word my son brought home from school. It was the first grade and this mild, quiet blonde-haired blue- eyed little boy uttered a word that had never been spoken in our home. The shocking thing was how easy it rolled off his tongue, a parrot simply mocking the words of another.

He was surprised at our reaction, his innocence and ignorance in play.

We quickly scrubbed the offending word out of his vocabulary. Other words would find their way from the world and each time, we had to nudge the language back to wholesome.

However, there was one particular word that, even though it was banished, it still kept finding a way back in various forms. We called it the “F” word

“Fair.”
Among all the despicable words out there, this is the one that never seems to go away. You find it everywhere, from the Kindergarten class, to the demonstration on Main Street to the stage for the highest office in the land. It dominates the office, seeps into the marketplace and rotates in the cul-de-sacs of our neighborhoods.

One thing I know — Life will never be fair

Just think of the way the word dominates politics these days. The war on classes will continue to escalate, with fairness the rallying cry. We are told that there should be fairness in employment and housing and opportunity. I’m all for that, but I know one thing about life and that it’s really never totally fair.

We’ll always have someone who will slight us, who won’t like us for our faith, or our stand, or our adherence to principle. We’ll be overlooked, ignored and forgotten. We’ll get a sickness, or have a spouse leave, or get fired for no good reason.  We’ll be discriminated against for our skin color, our politics, or our weight. It’s going to happen to the best of us.

That’s why, in our home, we called it the “F” word. It was never to be used or inferred. I told my sons that life never has, and never will be, fair. 

FairnessMercy I’ll take. Grace I’ll cherish. But I really don’t want fairness.

We were never promised a fair society, or a world that had equal opportunity for all. And actually, such a world would defy our human nature. At our core we only think about justice when an injustice has been done against us. We only think about a level playing field when ours is disadvantaged. Most see life with a narrow scope, limited to only a very selfish perspective.

But here’s the real question. Do we really want fairness?

Jesus said the last will be first, and the first be last. That’s not fair.

We’re told that the worker who starts late in the day will get his full payThat’s not fair.

We’re told that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That’s not fair.

Honestly, it isn’t fairness that I want, because if I get what I deserve, it won’t be all that good. Mercy I’ll take. Grace I cherish. But please, not fairness.

***

Photo by Michael Coughlin via Flikr CCI, Graphic by David Rupert

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