Fair means people get what they haven’t earned whether negative or positive, it means we get what we deserve. The real question is, what do YOU deserve? You deserve to die, you deserve punishment, you deserve eternal damnation. If you were to be very honest with yourself, you don’t deserve much. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8: For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. Fairness makes us boastful, we seek to redeem ourselves based on how good we were against others.
Fairness means we get what we deserve, similar to the story in Matthew 20. The master invited people to come and work in the field, these people started early in the morning. As the day progressed he would add more people, at 9, midday, and at 3pm in the day. At the end of the day he paid all of the workers equal wages, STARTING WITH THE ONES THAT CAME LAST. Imagine, these guys only worked for about an hour, and they received the same pay and they got paid first, even though others worked all day. Jesus uses this parable to explain how the Kingdom of God works. In this parable the master rightly said “I will pay you what is right” These men felt that they were treated unfairly, but they were treated justly.
When we seek fairness, we point at others and we measure their sin against ours. Fair allows me to say “Virtuous is a bad person, why did she have to get this when I haven’t? I’m a better person than… I deserve fairness” but in God’s eyes we are all sinners who need saving. The standard is the same. Being a Christian for longer doesn’t make us better than others, being pastors doesn’t make us better than others. His standard toward us is the same. Sometimes when we go through unfair seasons we wonder why bad things happen to good people, and we are naturally condemning others, we think they deserve bad things because we consider ourselves better than them and more deserving for good things.
Fair calls for equality, it makes God judgmental. “Fair” is the law. The law says if I’m a good person, I am entitled to God’s mercy etc. However, justice calls for a standard, so Jesus was on the cross as an equalizer. No matter what you have done, or what you have earned, you can reach out to him and receive justification. Murderers, liars and thieves alike become equal because their punishment is the same (death) none can claim to be better than the other, and none can look down on another because of their sin.
I want to slightly tweak something Apostle Fungai said below and I wanted to share it with you. “The two words might seem to mean the same. Justice is fixed and fairness is subjective. Justice is based on the law (moral nature of God) and is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions. Fairness is circumstantial is all about personal feelings, tastes and opinions. The latter will make anything hard to govern”