When we were kids, my brother and I constantly were whining to our mom about fairness. He had a bigger piece! Or Mom, you didn’t listen to both sides of the story! (This was even if only one person carried physical evidence of culpability.) We constantly believed that there was some fundamental miscarriage of justice in our young lives.
Life isn’t fair, she usually responded. On some level, I understood at the time, and now, I kind of get it. Life isn’t fair, but God is just and merciful. I don’t always or even usually have my desires fulfilled in the way I want or feel I deserve. Whenever I am confronted with readings from the Book of Job, I am not sure I could withstand that kind of suffering.
I am far more like the Psalmist in my requests:
"Incline your ear to me and hear my word. Hear, O LORD, a just suit; attend to my outcry; hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit" (Psalm 17:1).
I want God to hear me, to listen to me, to pay attention to what I have to say. Am I offering a just suit? That’s the question that remains. I am not Job. My life, to be fair, is charmed. I am exceedingly lucky.
Where is there a lack of justice and mercy in the world? That is where God is calling me to go—to incline my ear and do His work. People are crying out for a world that is a little more fair, in which the circumstances of our births don’t define our experiences of justice, where mercy and forgiveness flow like a river and our outcries are heard.
Am I listening to the outcry in my neighborhood, my church, my city, and my country? Can I respond as a part of the Incarnate Body of Christ? Instead of desiring fairness and honor for myself, I can offer my privileges for others and work to become the least of my brothers and sisters (Luke 9:48).
Where is there unfairness in your heart to those around you? Examine how you can make a little change today in your own sphere of influence and respond to the unfairness in your relationships.
Brigid Hogan is a high school English and ESL teacher who lives in northeast DC. She is passionate about Catholic social teaching and tries to live it out daily in her relationships and community. Most of her pleasures are guilty ones like television, burritos, and Twitter. Find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations Mystery: Beloved found here.