Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Inequity of Equality

“Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine no thine, but divide it." (1 Kings 3:26)

Not only are all men not created equal (in spite of Thomas Jefferson’s inspiring words in the Declaration of Independence), at no time in this life will they ever be so. And to assume they are or, worse yet, to try to make them equal, perpetrates an injustice on them and others.

A case in point is this familiar story from the life of King Solomon, as found in the third chapter of 1 Kings. Initially, it would appear that both mothers wanted the living child. Yet, one offers to give him or her up, in order to spare his or her life, while the other is inexplicably content to divide a dead baby between the two of them. Granted, she was the not the real mother (as Solomon wisely discerned), but what in the world was she going to do with half a dead baby? Obviously, nothing. Some sort of distorted desire for equality made her willing to sacrifice the very life of a child in order to make her feel she had evened the playing field, so to speak.

I have seen parents do this very thing with their own children. Not in a life or death situation, perhaps, but certainly when it comes to quality of life. Treating them all even-handedly ignores both natural temperaments and individual needs; while dispensing praise, whether deserved or undeserved, equally, is to diminish the achievement of the former and encourage the underachievement of the latter. Besides the fact that it is dishonest, it cripples both children for adult life.

It is safe to say that those individuals who were catered to in a misguided quest for fairness are the ones who are least capable of dealing with the real unfairness of life. On the other hand, those who understand that what seems unfair on the surface may in reality be personalized attention from a loving Heavenly Father, are able to see apparent human disadvantages as being, in reality, Spiritual advantages. Anything that makes us more dependent upon God could hardly be considered a drawback. Evidently, God considers unfair treatment to be beneficial since He allowed His only begotten Son to suffer it.

We as Christians would be well advised to deem the will of God to be far better than what we might consider to be fair treatment. As one old Puritan has said, God shows His love by both His strikes and His strokes. And as mothers, the sooner we are able to make our children understand that they are special enough to us to be given individual, tailored-to-them attention, the sooner they will be prepared for the life He has prepared for them.

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