Life just isn’t fair.
I don’t mean little inequalities, like she got three bites of chocolate while I got only two. I mean the big stuff, like Bill is much smarter than Steve, or Alan can walk while Jerry can’t. Things that really bring us onto unequal grounds.
And you know what? It’s SUPPOSED to be that way.
If everyone were exactly equal in every way, not only would life be kind of boring, but we wouldn’t need each other. “So what?” you may say, “I don’t want to need anyone. It’s more reliable and less difficult that way.”
This is true. But it kind of defeats the purpose of life. Life is not about eating, pooping, getting old and dying. It’s not about getting more stuff. It’s about becoming more and better than what we were. Whether or not you believe in God, you have to admit that a world where everyone only looks out for themselves would be a horrid place indeed.
This brings up the word ‘iniquity.’ The dictionary defines it as ‘gross injustice or wickedness,’ and it is generally used in a scriptural context. But the root comes from the word ‘uneven’ or ‘unfair.’ Why, in a world where so much is naturally uneven or unfair, would a word for wickedness mean unfair?
Answer: we’re supposed to help one another to make it more fair.
I don’t mean compulsion. I don’t mean stealing from the rich to give to the poor. I mean loving and caring for one another enough to give and do everything we can for the people who have less.
I have a lot of friends and family for whom life has been less than kind. Depression, Ehlers-Danlos, diabetes, ME, paralysis, severe epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, bipolar, abuse, and/or loss of limbs to name a few. Sometimes it’s as simple and common as John’s vocation just so happens to only pay $25,000 a year even with his college degree. I see a lot of people express derision to people in these circumstances: “Well they should have acted differently or made better choices.” Don’t you realize that we are ALL subject to the whims of fate?
In a perfect world, no one would have disabilities and a genetic engineer would get paid as much as a pretty actress for equal work. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Some of us luck into better circumstances than others. Some of us have more abilities than others. Some of us have more drive than others.
This is not pure Darwinian survival of the fittest. We need to help each other up. Sometimes that means helping someone help themselves. Sometimes it means taking care of their needs for a while. Sometimes it means taking care of their needs forever.
Some people say the government should do it. Compel the rich — the more able-bodied and lucky — to take care of the poor. I think, though, that not only is the government ill-equipped to deal with this type of delicate judgment, but compelling people to care for others engenders only bitterness on one side and entitlement on the other. As an ultimate safety-net, yes, let’s set something up. But on a more daily basis, for the betterment of both the giver and the receiver, those of us who are more able-bodied and/or lucky need to support with time and money and effort smaller organizations that help the less fortunate.
This is what Christ was talking about when he railed against iniquity. We NEED to LOVE each other. Not hate the poor for having less ability. Not hate the rich for having more. But love and help each other. It’s a life-long job. It’s hard. It requires sacrifice. But if you want to become better and leave a lasting impression on the world, it’s the way to go.