Growing up mom would say, “Fair does not mean the same.” Invariably she was saying that my sister and I were different and therefore had different needs.
In order to fairly and lovingly meet our needs, Mom and Dad sometimes had to treat us differently.
In a recent sermon on Matthew 20:1-16 about the laborers in the vineyards my pastor, Mike Morgan, used the illustration of a parent having 7 m&m’s and 2 girls. How does a parent treat both fairly? Pastor Morgan’s solution of giving each girl 3 M&M’s and eating the remainder was met with “that’s not fair” by both children.
His point was we do the same thing to God.
God is extravagantly generous. He doesn’t pay us earned wages of death. He gives us the gift of salvation. In love, He is willing to do what may be labeled as “unfair” by treating us as individuals with different needs. He gives us grace.
As sinful humans, we do not consistently get this message. We begrudge God’s generosity and covet His power to forgive.
Children from hard places can have the same difficulty seeing and recognizing God’s gifts. They have experienced the pain inflicted by the sin of others.
Their defense mechanisms may have outlived their usefulness. Now their defenses only perpetuate more pain for themselves and others. In constantly looking for potential hurts, they may be blind to the many blessings present in their lives.
Adora staff seek to model God’s generous love–to model a love that is not willing to check off boxes. We are unwilling to be mathematically fair and equal. Our work requires us to love in a way that meets the needs of each teen as a unique child of God.
We seek opportunities for the children in our care to learn how to develop and nurture loving, healthy relationships. We pray for God’s healing and restoration.
Just as with m&m’s and labourers in the field, healing and restoration require the understanding necessary to meet the needs of each child.
Not same or equal.
By Dr. Elizabeth Caldwell