It’s Not Fair   Leave a comment


Football Field

Football Field (Photo credit: juggernautco)

If you have watched any television or been involved in a conversation at the coffee house this morning, you  know that last night’s NFL game was one that caused a lot of controversy.  The Green Bay Packers lost against the Seattle Seahawks in the last seconds of the game and it was the result of a pass that created a controversial call by the officiating crew.  If you watch the replay of the play, it appears that the Packers intercepted a pass in the end zone but it was ruled as a completed pass by the Seahawks which allowed them to score and beat the Packers by two points.  Now, this is being and will be debated for a long time.  Most Packers fans would clearly tell you that it was a horrible call by the officiating team and that it was not fair.  I sat at a college football game on Saturday and felt that there could be similar claims made by my team concerning calls that were made on the field.  I am not going to try to argue one side or the other on this matter here but I am going to acknowledge that there are a lot of things in life that are not fair.

So what makes different parts of life unfair?  Using the situation in the Packers-Seahawks game, I want to point out two aspects that I believe make situations unfair.  The first is something that I call the “human factor.”  The officiating crew is a group of humans.  They are individuals who are not experienced at this level of football competition.  Even if they were experienced, they are still human and they are bound to make mistakes.  I have no idea if this is worse than any other time in the history of NFL officiating but I think it is important to remember that today we have so much more technology that allows us to see and replay plays in such a great detail that it is very easy for us to find the mistakes that happen.  If you have ever stood on a college football field in the midst of a play, you realize that some times things are so hectic and chaotic with so many bodies flying in so many different directions that you may not always see what others can see sitting in their living rooms and you may make a call that makes sense at the time but later you realize is not accurate.  Sometimes we react in a quick way and only later regret the action that we took.  I realize that in this particular situation, instant replay allowed them to review the call in order to correct mistakes but for some reason, the ruling stayed the same.  Maybe that set of humans saw something that the rest of us could not/did not see.  As long as there are humans, there are going to be mistakes, even some very colossal ones.

The second reality is that life is not fair because it is life.  If life were static and prescribed, then fairness could definitely rule the day.  However, life is not static or prescribed.  Yes, life has boundaries.  Yes, there are many people who work diligently in creating a level playing ground for everyone.  But life has its twists, turns, valleys, and mountains which are always changing.  New discoveries and new understandings create new approaches.  Personalities, achievements, failures, emotions, and passions impact life from every direction.  Yes, God is ultimately in charge and has a clear plan but God does not dictate every move and every aspect of every person.  God has chosen as part of God’s plan to allow human choices.  God keeps life within boundaries but allows flexibility in those boundaries.  It is just like the playing field in football.  There are sidelines in which everyone must remain if they are going to be given credit for the advancements but they are free to move in any direction within those sidelines.  Again, the human factor comes into play since humans do not always make the best choices and can create havoc and unfairness for others.  Movement of life is constant so there is a constant need to try to define the boundaries and strive for fairness.  It is just not always going to be achieved.

So whether you agree with the call that caused the Packers to lose or you feel that it was unfair, my answer is that as long as humans and life are involved, it is not going to be fair.

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