It’s not fair!
How many of us stopped saying this aloud but still secretly grumble it under our breath?
I was once riding in a friend's car when I noticed I was really disappointed. I was really looking forward to chatting and spending time. It was like my friend had two tasks: driving and exacting some kind of unspoken law on the other drivers. Hanging out with me was not one of the tasks. My friend spoke at length about the person in the car who cut us off, and then later spoke about how the driver deserved to be pulled over by the police. Tailgaters also received a tongue-lashing, and maybe even windshield wiper fluid from our car.
I could not help but wonder what does all this serve? The only thing I saw was that we exchanged an opportunity for a nice afternoon for the pollution of an ire for justice.
Although those of us reading this devotion may not use windshield wiper fluid as a weapon to restore fairness, this example could easily be transposed.
Do I allow my sense of fairness to cloud my judgment while reacting to something on social media?
Do I judge the person in the grocery store for not seeing me?
Do I roll my eyes at someone’s behavior in Church?
But what does it accomplish? Only God is all knowing. Only God knows what is going on in that person's heart. The Gospel declares in no uncertain terms that our judgments may not be on target, “the first will be last and the last will be first.” (Matthew 20:16)
So what do we do? I think the First Reading gives us a tremendous insight, “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” (Isaiah 55:6) How do we know when Our Beloved Lord is present? Our readings give us sure-bet indications: mercy, generosity, compassion, kindheartedness. These are the indications of the “fairness” of the Kingdom of God. It is measured by love.
Now let’s be clear, I am not one to say there are no rules. Anyone who knows me knows I love rules and checklists. But I pray we will always be ready to allow the Lord to recalibrate or even replace our judgmentalism with His way. The Gospel is clear in showing that we can either step into God’s logic where the last will be first, or we can stand outside as a judge, reaping the bitter fruits of isolation, anger, resentment, and windshield wiper fluid.
Let's choose His way today.
Sister Maria Kim Bui is a Daughter of Saint Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She is originally from Tempe, AZ, spent most of her fourteen years in religious life in the northeast, and is part of a bilingual evangelization team of sisters serving in Texas. Find out more about her here.