I find more and more in society today the masses (or at least the media) are calling for equality. Politicians make a living out of promising to make things more equal. “We need to provide a level playing field…” Over the course of history, especially thinking of US history, you find equality a common theme. There is equality for women in voting and equality for African-Americans in voting. It didn’t stop there. Next it was equality in status, position, earning power, jobs, and the list goes on and on. I even heard today about inequality in Major League baseball because of the diminishing number of black players in comparison to years past (especially considering the celebration of the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game) and how to correct it. And I started to wonder, is equality really the highest ideal of the 21st century? Is equality the thing that this country, this world, needs most?
In relation to the upcoming presidential election, there will be calls for equality in the race or gender of the potential candidates. You have an easily recognizable female candidate with a legitimate shot at garnishing the Democratic nomination as well as a prominent black candidate with maybe even a better shot at history. For the next year and half you’ll hear “it’s about time for a (insert race or gender) president!” It’s not that I honestly have any ill will toward the idea of a woman or black president, but I’m just not sure that equality is the loftiest of goals.
At work, political power plays are common and the inevitable cries from the un-chosen are “that’s not fair”. It’s not fair that one person gets the job, the promotion, the raise, the corner office and all the others get stuck in the mire. It’s not fair that men, on average, make more than women. It’s not fair that there are more white head coaches in professional football than black head coaches. It’s not fair that Sanjaya Malakar made the top 7 on American Idol. But hey, the world isn’t fair. Get over it!
In reading the Scriptures, I find that there is a pattern of inequality. It wasn’t fair that Moses led the Israelites thru the wilderness for 40 years but wasn’t allowed into the Promised land because he struck a rock. It wasn’t fair that Samson disobeyed every part of the Nazarite vow and yet God used him to judge the Philistines. It wasn’t fair that David, the “man after God’s own heart” made a few mistakes and wasn’t able to complete the rebuilding of the Lord’s Temple and his son, Solomon, could, despite the indulgent behavior Solomon was so well known for. And it wasn’t fair that the Son of God came to earth and was rejected by His own people, mocked and beaten by sinful men and then crucified as a criminal.
Philippians 2:6-8 says of Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!”
What does that say about the insignificance of our calls for equality? If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, didn’t consider what was already His (equality with God) something to be grasped then who are we to say that we deserve equality? If the Maker of the universe didn’t consider His right to the throne of more importance than His sacrifice for human sinners, what rights can we claim we truly deserve? Christ sat silent while men spat in his face and mocked him when all along he could have crushed them with impunity. He could have called down a legion of angels to take him off the cross and into heaven, but he humbled himself to death for our sakes, so that we could have life thru Him. Suddenly I feel very ashamed for complaining about the inequality of American Idol voting.