Posts Tagged ‘fairness’

20130202_130022My grandson and I had a little run in the other day on the basketball court and it reminded me of David and Goliath. Let me tell you my version of what happened.

He is 10 years old, about 4’8’ tall, loves basketball, plays on two above-average teams and has a very sweet shot, especially from a distance. I, on the other hand, am more than 6x his age, only used to be 6’ tall, played my last organized basketball game in 1969, and need I go on about the differences.

He and I decided to play a little one-on-one for fun, and I’m pretty sure he was thinking he would win handily.  What he did not allow for was the difference between 4’8” and 6’.

I scored the first two baskets because I could shoot and miss, but get my own rebound and have 3-4 more shots under the basket until I would finally make it. Because of my height, he had a hard time driving and he doesn’t have a jump shot yet, so he had a hard time scoring. He then tried to dribble all over the driveway to wear me out—which he was doing faster than he knew.

That’s the moment when the wheels started coming off our game—that moment when he realized no matter what he did, I was going to win—simply because I was taller.

First he changed the boundaries to create more court—for him to run around in, of course.  Then he started changing the rules of scoring, so that if he thought he was fouled, he would always get to shoot two shots that counted two points each.

I know you think I should have just backed down and been grandfatherly and let him win—and maybe you are right—but I really haven’t ever let anyone win. I was taught that to do so was the height of condescension. You don’t beat people badly, but you never just give away a game.

After some fourth-grade level trash talking from both of us, I did let him change rules to his advantage, but it did raise the tension in our game a bit.

That’s when I made a big mistake.  In the heat of battle as he was using his speed to zip around me, I grabbed his arm and held him—a very obvious and intentional foul—but without harm—or so I thought!

Never intentionally foul an already frustrated grandson in the moment when he is about to score!  Very bad idea!

Next thing I knew he was walking off mad. He had had enough with Grandad!

I did give him a few minutes, then followed him up to his room, but found the door locked. Of course, I’m not showing it, but I’m kinda sick inside that I had let the whole competition thing get out of hand.

About 15 minutes later, I’m sitting on the couch downstairs, when I get shot by a nerf gun from upstairs.  I was smart enough to know that what might seem like an angry act of revenge was really just a ten-year-old way of seeking rapprochement.

I worked my way upstairs and asked him if we could talk. He agreed, so we had a great five-minute conversation about what had happened. From his perspective, it was all about fairness.  Nothing about the game was fair to him—and, of course, he was right, so we agreed that next time we would play and not keep score OR we would play and he would get his brother and maybe another cousin to be on his side because 3 against Grandad might be fair!

I love that boy, and I’m thankful that we got that all worked out—but it did make me think about fairness.

Not every David and Goliath story ends with David slaying the giant!  The tall guys sometimes win.

Big countries have more influence than little countries; rich people control more of the world than poor people.  Strong people rule weak people.  Does any of this have to do with fairness?

Big states have more sway than little states Attractive kids make better grades in school than less attractive kids. Smart kids make better grades than average kids.

Not everyone gets a trophy. And if they did, then that would not be fair!

God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45)! He chose Jacob over Esau (Romans 9). He chose Israel, not because they were the biggest or the best nation, but because he . . . chose them. (Deuteronomy 7:7).

If you are Ishmael, you cry out, “Unfair! Unfair!”  but here’s what Paul says about that in Romans 9:

20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”

I think what this means is that if Goliath had won the battle, David could not have complained of unfairness. Nor could Goliath complain that David’s divine partner gave the little guy an unfair advantage.

As I write this, I’m hearing the cringes and frowns from most of us who want—demand—fairness. Immense trust is required of us to believe that God’s will is absolutely righteous and that He is sovereign over his creation—and that He loves us.

Life isn’t fair, but Christians believe an absolutely good and righteous God is!

But don’t ever intentionally foul your grandson!!

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