I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the statement, “It’s not fair!” My children, especially my middle school-aged daughter, believe that everything must be fair or they will stand in protest against it. That really only works until I no longer think it’s cute and then tell them life is not always fair.

The topic of fairness fills thoughts and conversations daily. It’s not fair that I have to work really hard to etch out a living for my family while another person gets everything handed to them at a simple request. It’s not fair that one person lives while another dies. It’s not fair that horrible things go on in the world today and we can do nothing to control it. The census bureau just reported that about 46.2 million people, or nearly 1 in 6, were living in poverty in 2010. How is that fair? This list of things that are not fair can extend another twenty pages…but you get the point.

It is easy to identify things that are not fair but who is the judge of fairness? How do we decide what is fair and what isn’t? After studying the subject of fairness I noticed that the idea of justice was often linked to it. Justice, in its simplest form, is getting what you deserve. So, what do we deserve?

Most Americans believe they deserve the American dream, which means a certain level of living. College graduates coming out of school believe they deserve a job, but not just any job, a job that is going to provide them with a good living. If something bad happens in our life we cry out, “It’s not fair! I don’t deserve this.” We deserve the good living and we don’t deserve the pain. This is a pretty convenient way of looking at things.

I asked a group of Christians what they thought they deserved, and I heard a startling contrast to the world’s response – nothing. They said, “We brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing out.” As sinners we deserve hell and are really thankful that God did something about that. God treated us fairly even when we didn’t deserve it. Is life fair? No!

So when we think about this fourth pillar in Character Counts what does it mean for Christians to treat others with Fairness? Maybe it means to play by the rules, don’t take advantage of other people, and considering the feelings of others.

As we look around at all the things that are unfair in our world, do we want to add our voice to the unfairness cause or do we want to be the voice of hope? God has given us what we don’t deserve, what does that look like in our relationships with others?