For the past few decades, the big trend in corporate America has been “pay for performance.” In other words, the more you do on the job or the better your results for the organization – the greater your compensation.
The underlying idea of this trend has been a fundamental component of capitalism since its inception.
For example, the more a sales representative sells, the higher their bonus. When a professional athlete performs exceptionally on the field, court, track or ice, their pre-negotiated contract incentives are triggered to produce a cash windfall as well as larger advertising endorsements.
Even our children are indoctrinated into this pay-for-performance mentality when we encourage them to study and pay attention in class. Such conduct enables them to get good grades, which will enable them to graduate high school and get into a good college, followed by a good job…et cetera.
Additionally, we can expect politicians to excessively play the “fair and equitable” card this election season by playing to our dependence on this model when they make statements such as, “everyone needs to pay their fair share…” or ”to be fair, there need to be equal cuts across all programs…“ or “those who earn the most, have an obligation to pay the most – it’s only fair.”
The reason why this pay-for-performance belief is so embedded within our culture is because we think it’s an equitable and fair model for life. Simply stated, if you do good work and work hard – then you’ll be rewarded accordingly; however, if you’re a lazy slacker who causes problems and doesn’t contribute or advance the group – you won’t be.
As a culture we universally embrace “pay for performance” because we believe it’s fair.
Perhaps that’s the main reason why it’s currently unpopular and out of vogue in America to believe in God – because God is not fair. In other words, He doesn’t give us what we deserve or have earned.
Specifically, the Judeo-Christian God does not reward us for how good we are; what we can do for Him; how holy we try to be or any other religious trappings that humans try to conjure up as a way to earn our own redemption. The reason being is that we can’t earn it.
Consider the following passages from the Old Testament that explain why God is not fair as we understand and apply the concept of fairness.
- Psalm 103:10 - “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”
- Lamentations 3:22 - “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.”
The reason that God does not treat us fairly as we deserve, is because He wants more than that for us – He wants to treat us better than we deserve. According to the scriptures, He wants to forgive us, to love us and be reconciled with us.
But rather than embrace and accept this unearned gift, we tend to dismiss it as too good to be true because it’s seemingly irrational, it doesn’t make sense and we can’t wrap our pay-for-performance minds around it.
Maybe that’s why it takes faith to believe that God is ultimately unfair – of that I’m fairly certain.
Question: None of us gets it right 100% of the time, taking that into account would you rather serve a fair or unfair God?