I’m told the wrong things about equality and fairness. So are you, if you watch TV or read internet articles (at least American ones). We’re both often taught, implicitly or explicitly, that fairness and equality are at their core postures of non-judgment. According to the new American hidden curriculum, to be fair or stand for equality is to have a non-judging heart. I’ll set aside for the moment the problem that telling someone he shouldn’t judge is itself a judgment, because that’s not what’s on my mind.
My family and I have been reading through the Psalms, and what has stuck out to me as we’ve made our way through the 90s the last week or so is how many times God’s Word in those Psalms says that He is fair, just, righteous, and equitable. Part of the reason it’s leapt out at me is that at the same time I’ve also been telling my two oldest about Jericho and about the Philistines of the period of the Judges.
For several weeks I’ve been speaking and internalizing that the God who is holy and good and fair is the same God who commanded the slaughter of the wicked people of Jericho, the same God who used Samson as a flawed instrument of justice on the Philistines. I’ve had to think and know, as I teach my kids, that while God is slow to anger and inconceivably merciful, He hates evil. And He has to.
You cannot love good without hating evil.
God hates everything that mars His beautiful glory, and He also hates everything that violates human beings. The people of Canaan and Jericho were worshiping false gods, and they were burning their children to death as a part of that horrible worship, and they had refused to turn from their ways though God had given them hundreds of years to repent. God’s leveling of the city of Jericho isn’t some stray piece I have to somehow figure out how to fit into His goodness and justice. It is an example of it.
But the most amazing example of this sin-hating fairness is the sacrificial death of Jesus. On a Jewish hill crowned by a Roman cross, the Son of God took on Himself all of the just, good anger of God that sinners who would trust in Him deserve themselves. God loved His people so much that, while unable to pretend sin isn’t sin, He took on the shame and death and wrath that it requires.
The bloody, beautiful death of Jesus shows that God is unimaginably just and loving. He enacted a judgment much sharper than Jericho’s on Himself, and He did it all on the behalf of those who would believe in Him.
Fairness is not a refusal to judge. Fairness is an appropriate loving of that which should be loved held in tension with an appropriate hatred of that which should be hated.
You will never be fair if you don’t hate that which kills, if you don’t despise that which will ultimately rob people of their Maker.
I’ll send off with a bit of a public Facebook interchange I had with a guy who thought it was wrong of me to call it sin when a young man here in Cincinnati tried to live as a woman. The young man became famous due to his suicide, and a friend and I exchanged a few comments about what God would say to him after the sad story took the attention of us most of us in Cincinnati.
This is long, but I’m guessing/hoping you wanted a thoughtful answer. Remember also that we can get together for coffee and talk about this in person if you like:
A man wanting to be a woman, or a boy wanting to be a girl, is a rebellion against God’s good authority. The God who authored gender in Genesis, who we’re told knits us together in Psalm 139, and who uses even our infirmities for His glory and the good of those who love Him, as Jesus said of a man born blind man in John 9. It’s a rebellion that Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God for, and it’s a rebellion He tells me to lovingly, compassionately, joyfully, and boldly proclaim His Gospel to. It’s one that will lead to slavery instead of freedom, and that I should offer the hope of Christ’s power and grace to.
I was born in sin, and I chose to rebel against God in sin every day since my birth. As a sinner who deserved Hell, and as a parent of 3 children, my heart hurts for this young man. What I want to say to him and his family and my family and every person who will allow me to speak to them is that Jesus Christ was born sinlessly and took on the just punishment for all those rebellions. And now through faith in Him we can turn from the death we deserve to a life we don’t. That’s the Good News I want to live and die speaking of to people like him, because it’s the only Good News that can heal. And it’s the Good News that does what the universe was meant to do: highlight the greatness and glory of God. I hope to do what my Savior did: Speak the truth even when it’s hated, and love ferociously, no matter what it costs me personally.
Anything less is doing a disservice to those who need real hope, and to the Jesus who saved a wretch like me.
Peace, brothers and sisters.