Fair and Right

The notion that the right thing to do is always fair or that fairness is always right is utterly false. Right and fair occasionally align, but assuming that they do in all cases is an incredibly limiting perspective.

The idea that anything right must also be fair is one of the many unfortunate by-products of what many have called the “disconnected state.” This state, where man is unacquainted with his inner self, creates a wrinkle in consciousness that causes him to turn on righteousness because he perceives it as not being fair.

There was a fabulous analogy recorded in the Book of Matthew in the King James version of the Bible that explains this well. (If you are not religious you would be wise to look past your prejudice so that the baby is not thrown out with the bath water. Similarly, if you are religiously-inclined or trained I recommend that you look at this in the light of a new understanding).

Matthew 20

[1] For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
[2] And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
[3] And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
[4] And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
[5] Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
[6] And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
[7] They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
[8] So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
[9] And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
[10] But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
[11] And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
[12] Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
[13] But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
[14] Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
[15] Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

People will turn from doing the right thing because they perceive it not to be fair. Fairness, however, is a concept used in the disconnected state to divvy up what little goodness, joy and peace that manage to make their way through human beings into expression. Fairness often gets in the way of the right thing being done.

Many people have volunteered themselves to support the right thing only to turn away later when things don’t go the way they thought they would. They take offense, make all kinds of judgments, blame and turn on the boss-man, broadcast for sympathy to see who agrees with their view on the matter, take their ball and go home.

It is on this basis that man has more or less kept the gods he worships, the heavenly state he desires and the perfection he knows is possible in prison. Rather than yielding the fulness of his capacities of body, mind and heart to the magnification of all that is right and true he prefers to rule in a hell of his own creation.

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8 Responses to Fair and Right

  1. Colin says:

    I think readily gets back to the theme of judgement. Who are we to judge what is fair and what is not? Do we know the totality of circumstances, along with what is in other’s hearts? In the example above from Matthew, there could be many reasons why the landowner chose to pay the 11th hour workers the same as the ones who worked from the beginning.
    The more we realize that judgement is not our business, the better off we will be. I actually believe that a habit of judgement makes it harder for a person to tell what is right from what is wrong for them as individuals. The question that I always want to answer in the affirmative is “Am I doing the right thing?”. The ironic thing is that judgement of others hinders and skews the judgement that is needed to answer this question!

  2. Alyssa B says:

    I feel very fortunate to have had parents the from a very young age that taught me and my siblings not to expect fairness in life. Fairness really doesn’t make sense, even logically, let alone through the judgements and feelings of entitlement. If everything was supposed to be fair, we would all be exactly the same in joy and in sorrow. If everything was supposed to be fair, you would probably face the brunt of the seeds that you’ve sown and fall under the weight of your own actions. Luckily, life is gracious. We are each given what we can handle and will receive that which we can steward in our lives. Whether we receive nothing, a penny or a billion dollars, what we really should be concerned about is our giving, not our getting.

  3. MMc says:

    I’m always wary of the person that tries to galvanize support on the basis of “fair”. It’s a capricious basis as it has only to do with their own estimate of how things should be. Our present political situation is another fine example of mankind’s ability to decide what is the right way to live based on the present concept of what would be fair. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  4. David R says:

    “Fairness” is certainly a loaded concept, and the perception of it is based to such a high degree on a given person’s context, or framework, for looking at a situation. A particular decision or policy can seem fair from one perspective and horribly unfair from someone else’s. In our democratic society, we have sought to legislate fairness, and one can understand the concern, but the legislation so often produces still more inequity, depending on whom you consider!

    Still more reason to pull one’s hands off the judgment lever so that real righteousness, and not just the appearance on the surface, may be discovered.

  5. Lady Leo says:

    I’m reminded of this line from your post a couple days ago. “Nature has a way of restoring balance, but her ways are impartial to a fault. If we allow balance to be set by default, we as a race may eventually find ourselves holding the short stick.” Man’s arbitrary ideals of fair and good have done as much damage as unfair and bad to this balance. We are not a rudderless creation. I dare say there are exacting guidences for us to live by but they are only understood by our higher self and that is only accessed through righteousness and purity of heart. An easy and accessible way to begin is to stop being judge, jury and executioner for every event and person you encounter. Realizing I didn’t have to have an opinion on everything is a great relief . It’s not our job, we don’t have the tools to do it. Thanks for a great post. It takes courage bring up the subject of fairness, it seems to be the red flag for the bull of diametrical confusion.

  6. Thank you for your clarity on the subject of fairness. It is good to catch that voice that calls, “that’s not fair,” when it arises in our living. This is a pivotal point to choose to be a greater influence of character and integrity. Your blog is a call to grow in stature and grace.

  7. Joshua says:

    Given the current number of people on earth, and the number of people in that body that are sincerely dedicated to doing what is right regardless, we can be certain that we are going to get more than our fair share of that load. Yet it is clear, and always has been that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, through the very circumstances we find ourselves in, regardless. I for one would not wish to be catagorized as a greedy miser that bites the hand that is seeking to feed me, especially if it be the Lord and King of Heaven and Earth!
    Thanks for the timely nature of this over-abundant opportunity to make our allegiance clear.

  8. Mitch Webb says:

    LOL at your use of “boss-man”… This post is painfully true and brilliantly refreshing. Thank you for the disclaimer to keep an open mind – it was well worth it!

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