The words from the Lord that Micah preached tell us that there are three things that God demands from us.

  1. To be fair,
  2. To love kindness,
  3. To be humble before our God (Micah 6:8).

Most of us understand fairness.  There is an instinctive, gut reaction when we are treated unfairly.  Of course, if we can define what is unfair, then we can know what is fair.  However, should we still not understand fairness, all we need to do is look to Jesus.  He said, “Treat others in the same way that you would like to be treated.”  I don’t want people to steal from me.  Therefore, I know that I should not steal from others.  When gossip hurt me badly years ago, I worked hard to deliberately eliminate gossip from my conversation.  I didn’t want anyone to be hurt as I was by false and loose talk.

However, fairness almost never means equality.  Working within the mentally challenged community, we come to understand that it is important to be fair to a person with disabilities but seldom are their lives equal.  As an example, when a family divides an inheritance, it may seem fair to everyone that the person with severe disabilities will receive more than the other members of the family.  Depending on the circumstances, it could also prove to be more fair that the disabled person should receive much less than the other family members. 

 When I became the parent of more than one child, I learned quickly that fairness is almost never equal.  Our first two children were a boy and a girl.  All three of our children’s  personalities were vastly different.  What one child may deem as a slight, the other could consider a compliment.  

Employers also understand that being fair almost never means being equal.  Each employee must be treated according to her unique needs and desires, talents and giftings. 

As the leader of a ministry within the disability community, fairness becomes an important principle.  We quickly learn that there are no cookie-cutter personalities.  People within the mentally challenged community represent a wide diversity of needs and concerns.  Fairness must always be the ruling factor, rather than equality.  While most of our members love to be hugged on Sunday morning when they arrive at Special Gathering, Eric and Kim do not want to be touched.  Pam loves attention and craves being used during the services to pray or help minister.  Steve sits in the back seat and dreads being pointed out in any way.

Again, God is able to pin point an important principle that allows us to show God’s love in a way that is simple and–with God’s grace–attainable.