“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
I walked into the preschool classroom and could see Claire was excited to see me. I would be in charge of handing out the snacks and supervising recess duty for her pre-school class. As I finished handing out the last of the snacks, here came her tears. “What could possibly be wrong”, everyone received the same snack the same amount, but something in Claire’s little mind was unfair. Evidentially, when handing out the cookies,
one was broken so I gave the classmate 2 halves, which made it appear to be an extra cookie. You see, Claire likes things fair! I was pleased with her concern for the friend and explained the idea of fractions to her young mind. “Everyone received his or her equitable snack ration.”
As Claire continued growing up, her great amount of concern for others was heartwarming to this momma. I was proud of the way she wanted to see others do well and be blessed. While playing with her sisters and her friend Lydia, I would often hear her negotiating the distribution of Bratz doll clothing and how many pairs of boots each girl got for their doll. At school, she had a tender heart and was easily a friend to those who others ignored or even teased. She knew everyone needed a fair ration of friends. As her little dance team walked onto the stage, it was Claire who was concerned that everyone spread out evenly, so that all the dancers could show their skills with equal space to do their twirls. She was the only one out of formation, checking out each dancers placement. She became frustrated when friends seemed to be drawn to others as a “BFF” and became easily angered when friendships weren’t equally matched, one for another. Yes, Claire had a tender heart and a great desire for fairness. It seemed so simple and precious.
However, I soon began to see the ugly side and false dichotomy of her rationales. She had and inordinate desire for fairness. Most of these attempts ended in her tears and other kids frustrated with her. She made playtime less than enjoyable and most of the time she withdrew and pouted. What seemed like a great concern for others was really just a misguided attempt to make sure she was being well thought of, or taken care of. She had mistaken that something can only be just if it is fair.
Because Claire came to us through foster care, we had the great advantage of getting to know her before we chose her name. We named her Claire which means illustrious: highly distinguished; renowned; famous; glorious; as deeds of works; luminous; bright. We explained that her name was a call to something greater. He gave her deep a concern and compassion for others, so that she would let her life illuminate Jesus’ compassion and concern. Her desire for fairness and equality should illuminate “the famous One in all the earth”. However, she was living in the antonym of her name: inferior, insignificant, unimportant, unknown, unremarkable and it was clearly more about how she felt than a reflection of Jesus.
I struggled for wisdom on how to lead and teach her. I reminded her that no matter how inferior or insignificant she felt; God knew her name! (Isaiah 43:1b) She needed to see, that in a fallen and broken world, there would be injustice, unfairness and selfish people. I showed her in Job we can see the illustration in the contrast between biblical justice and “fairness”. As I prayed for her, God started showing me my own desire for a “fair” world. He began showing me how self-centered even sacrificial service to others could become. God started letting Claire and I work through these issues, what was really our pity party and sinful desires of self illumination. He allowed our hearts to start examining the motives behind wanting fairness. His Word began showing us compassion and fair desire for our glory will always lead to discouragement. For His glory, we will be light. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves …” Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
In wanting everything to be equal, we really were being discontent; comparing what we had with what we wanted or felt entitled to. Life isn’t fair. Sin has broken this world. Sin has broken people. Sin has broken me. Fair is not what happened when Jesus was crucified. Grace is what happened!
As I began to point Claire to a sense of vision and call in her life with her strong desire for fairness, I was able to remind her of the real purposes for her here in this world. When she feels vulnerable to others mistreatment or lack of equity, she can be satisfied that this was not how Christ sees her. Claire is beautiful, not because of what she gives, how she feels treated or even if she gets an even share. She is beautiful because of Whose she is. “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:30-31
Because Claire has a great God given gift for mercy and justice, her life is a beautiful reflection of Jesus. Others will be truly blessed by having Claire in their life. She is a true friend, a kind soul and you can be sure that she will want you to be treated well! She reminds me “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.” Ps. 33:5 I am grateful Claire has struggled in this area. This struggle has been used to remind me of how wonderful it is that we have not received what we deserved. Romans 3:25-26 Reminds me that Christ’s sacrificial death satisfied God’s wrath and I don’t live in the curse of what is “fair”!
“A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.” Proverbs. 16:11I
I look forward to watching this young women follow Jesus in whatever path she takes! I will never truly grasp the immense gift of being chosen to be her mom.