Equality Gone Wrong
America has taught us to do everything in balance. Equality is something we have to grasp – if someone gets $3, so should everyone else who does the same thing to acquire the $3. If someone has a house, so should others. Even though this world is far from equal, we pursue it in whatever way we know how. Even though equality is a beautiful picture of righteousness, it can be a source of interference in our our personal disciplines, relationships, and spirituality.
There is a way that equality can grow to our demise. We project our ideas of utility and balance to God. If God is giving someone this, why won’t he give us the same thing? Today was a good day, so tomorrow may be a bad day (to put the universe in balance). This year, I made plenty of money. Next year, I’m sure I won’t be as lucky. We think this way don’t we? We are constantly playing universal equilibrium games. We are constantly trying to find our human balance scales with what is fair, and what is too good to be true. We can sometimes think God is utilitarian in His love. We can think of Him as being politically astute in His love. We can think of Him as measuring equality the way we do.
In relational love and acceptance, we scrutinize equality in such an intense way. Afterall, no one wants to get cheated. No one wants to feel like they are getting the short end of the stick. What does equality look like in romantic love? What does it look like in friendships? Is someone ripped off if they become less than the other? Is someone robbed of full joy when the other person receives more than them? I hear it all the time. Some people are the givers, and the others are the takers.
We pay thousands of dollars to therapists in this country so they can bring more equality and balance to relationships. They can put our past in context and diagnose our inability to make things equal and correct. Today, I have a different solution —
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even (S)death on a cross.
The book of Philippians teaches us that Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. This means though He was equal, He did not think about it too much because of His love for us – He did whatever it took to love us – emptying Himself to becoming the lowest common denominator – a human being.
When we love each other, we can only do it in humility. We can only do it in a way that threatens our own equality. We can only love when we don’t know how we will receive in the midst of it. We just know that Jesus was raised up by God – He was given authority by NOT grasping equality. Something tells me the same goes for us. The world will take advantage of your love. The world will take your love for granted – so will people you love. The world will do all sorts of things with your equality. You will not always get what you deserve. You will often be underrated and undervalued. But a God who loves you deeply will never let you down. You will never be cheated in God’s economy. There is a river of abundance that flows – and you are the sole recipient. Many of you are underrated – in your professions, in your friendships, in your most precious relationships. But you are also the most highly favored, and chosen. Don’t think of equality as something to be grasped – keep pushing – keep loving – keep moving – in methods of unbalance. Someone else will elevate you to the stars. Peace, and much love to you – John Baptist!