Recently, I have been intrigued by three words in Proverbs. The specific proverb reads “Then you will understand what is right, just and fair” (Proverbs 2:9 NLT). Our morality can probably be boiled down to these three things: what is right, what is just and what is fair. Right is the ability to know the difference between right and wrong. Just, or justice, is the ability to choose when there are two opposing rules or sides. Fair, or equity, is the ability to find a medium when there are two extremes.
Fairness or equity is the place where there is the most differing of opinions. Fair does not mean equal. Fair means equity. What each of us views as equity is so varied that getting agreement can often be difficult. What seems fair for some people is not considered fair by other people. Selfishness often clouds our view of what equity should look like. Fairness requires sacrifice.
I do believe there are some simple ways all of us can practice equity. We are not expected to change the world for everyone, but we can change the world for someone. Applying some of these things in our relationships will create more equity in the world and more opportunity for everyone.
Give what you have
This is the most simple way to begin to create equity in the world: share. We are naturally selfish creatures and must be intentional about practicing generosity. When we are generous, it chips away at our self-absorbed ways and thus creates two benefits. An obvious benefit to the one to whom we are giving and a benefit to ourselves because we become less selfish. Giving of what we have allows others to have things they may not have had otherwise. Many of us live with much more than we need and as we give some of that away, fairness and equity are created.
Teach what you know
Each of us knows things we can share with others. We all have skills that can benefit someone else. It may be something that is a natural gift we possess or it may be something that we have learned from our job or from practice. Teaching someone what you know may very well be the thing that creates an opportunity for them to succeed. You may not know everything they need to know, but do not use that as an excuse not to teach them what you do know. Remember, you are not expected to fill someone else’s cup. You only need to empty your cup.
Bring to where you are
Where are you in life? What does life look like where you are? Some people have never experienced what you are experiencing right now. Some people never experience what you are experiencing without your help. Allowing someone to experience life along with you can be powerful. I recently had a conversation with a young man who had been mentored by someone. He remarked how much he enjoyed this mentor taking him for a boat ride. He said he may never have ridden in one were it not for this man taking him. He was very grateful. The things we take for granted may very well be extraordinary events for someone else.
Take to where you are going
All of us are on a journey. We are headed somewhere in life. We are on career journeys, spiritual journeys, personal journeys. We take trips and attend events. Why do those things alone? Why not take someone along with you? Allow them to see your journey. Let them experience the things you are learning and seeing. Maybe they will change as these things change you. We shouldn’t do life alone and taking others on our journey creates more equity in a world that is overwhelmed by selfishness.
All of us have different gifts, desires and talents which make equal an unsustainable ideal. However, equity and fairness should be something we are constantly striving to attain. We can create a much more equitable world when we include others in ours and put these four simple practices into play.
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