Every little kid is guilty of whining, “But mom, it’s not fair!” My mother’s response, which I assume is a common line from most moms, was “Well, life is not fair.”
This remark bugged me then and still creeps into my mind to bug me today. Since when has life not been fair? Did God not intend to create a fair world? As a young pup, the things I felt to be unfair were minuscule to the unjust circumstances I witness today. My parents did a great job at treating both my sister and me equally. When I turned 16, my sister was jealous of the car I was presented. At that moment, she was the one whining about it not being fair. Two years later, she turned 16 and received a car of equal value. Even though my childhood was very fair, I still whined that it wasn’t. I can only imagine how kids that really live in an unfair circumstance feel.
The dictionary definition of justice is about fairness and being reasonable. In government, the Supreme Court has the duty to be fair and just. Police officers are also responsible for keeping things fair. When I am driving down the interstate going 75 miles per hour and a slick Camaro passes me at speeds near the speed of light, it puts a smile on my face to see them pulled over a few miles ahead. Also according to the dictionary definition, justice is treating people equally no matter the differences. A doctor should treat the hospital janitor with the same respect as his patients. Regardless of race, class, gender, salary, morals, or religion, justice is looking in the eyes of those you don’t agree with and shaking their hand. In the same manner, if one person does another wrong, justice according to the court is a consequence or punishment for the oppressor. In the world, when people get served what the deserve, that is justice.
The Bible tells us a different message about justice. Proverbs 31:8–9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
When I was in fourth grade, I was given the challenge to speak up for others. In my hometown, people of color are a rare sighting. One boy of color in my fourth-grade class was bullied. His bully did not claim to pick on him because of the color of his skin, but rather, because he was “annoying.” When we think about the poor and needy, our minds automatically picture people without money, a place to live, or food. This was not the case in fourth-grade. This boy had a warm house and loving parents to go home to. He didn’t have to wonder about where his next meal would come from, but he did have to worry about several bullies who treated him as “less than” every single day.
Jeremiah 22:3 states, “This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”
The boy in my fourth-grade class was under the hand of the oppressor. He was being robbed of his pride. He was a foreigner in the minds of his enemies. This was the first time I had been challenged to serve justice. I was challenged to follow the words written in Proverbs 31. Every day, the boy went to school expecting to be teased, left out, and spat on. Every day, I went to school expecting to speak up for and defend him. I went up against some of my closet friends during this time. I risked losing friends that I had all my short life to stick up for someone who needed it.
Justice comes at a price — one that many are not willing to pay. Those that choose to live a life in the footsteps of Christ are called to fight for justice. Maybe kids will always whine to their mothers that it’s not fair. Or maybe we can work to change that.
If you are not speaking up for others and rescuing them from the hand of the oppressor, you are contributing to living in an unfair, unjust world.
Sidney Webster is the student body president of Greenville University, the co-host of “The Sounds of GU” podcast, and a member of the Greenville University Panthers women’s basketball team. Visit the Blooming Rose Blog and Greenville University Blogs for more of her writing.1