Sermons

Summary: The fourth message in the series based on the six pillars of ‘Character Counts!’

(Slide 1) Last week, I asked you to write down one way you would exercise responsibility this past week and I told you that I was going to ask you if you did. So how did you exercise responsibility last week in a new way? (Allow for congregational response.)

Thank you!

My responsibility exercise included learning from failure to exercise my responsibility in a situation that I will not go into this morning. It was an important but not a life and death situation. But, I realized that I let something go by and I should have done something about it.

There are moments in life when, as a child, a teen, and an adult we get upset about something and say… (Slide 2) It’s not fair!

When was the last time you said that? I heard at the table this past week when some members of the family were able to get dessert and others were not. (And no, it was not me who said it!)

Today we are going to study the pillar called “Fairness.”

What is fairness? Is it always ‘even Steven?’

To start us thinking about fairness I have a story to tell and when I am finished, I want to know what you think about the story.

(Slide 3) A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her.

(Slide 4) The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug.

(Slide 5) The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later.

(Slide 6) But the druggist said, "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So, Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.

Here is the question: Should Heinz have broken into the store to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not? (Source: “Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development at www.wikipedia.com)

What do you think?

Thank you for your answers!

Did Heinz have a right to say, “It’s not fair?” I think that he did. Is the purpose of being a druggist or pharmacist to help heal people? What might a fair resolution of this situation look like? (Ask for response.)

Life is not fair…sometimes, is it?

I asked this past week via e-mail to some of you to take an on-line personality test and send me the results and then, if you did, I asked you a follow up question, ‘Do you have a strong sense of fairness?’ (Thanks to all who responded!)

I asked that question for a reason. I have wondered if certain personalities are more concerned about fairness than other personalities. Some people cry, “It’s not fair” at the drop of a hat. Others seem to take everything in stride. Some people start petitions to correct a perceived unfairness while others simply say, “It’s not worth getting bent out of shape.”

This is what I found in my very unscientific survey:

(Slide 7)

• Reliable Realist

• Dreamy Idealist

• Harmony Seeking Idealist

• Good Natured Realist

• Engaged Idealist

• Reliable Realist

• Social Realist

• Determined Realist

• Good Natured Realist

• Spontaneous Idealist

• Engaged Idealist

• Reliable Realist

• Social Realist

• Determined Realist

(Source: 41 question test at www.41q.com)

I am not going to go into detail about each personality type because I did not get full information about each of them and I caution you not to take these tests too seriously though there are some helpful tests that a qualified person can administer to you. Where there is an underline that person indicated that fairness matters to them.

Notice that three of the personality types mentioned here, “Reliable Realist,” “Engaged Idealist” and “Social Realist” indicated that they felt a sense of fairness within them. I am not claiming that there is a correlation between these types and fairness. But there are some people who have a stronger bent toward fairness issues. (Sometimes we use the word justice in place of fairness. What is fair? What is just?)

And I appreciated the comments of some who acknowledged Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45 that the “rain falls on the just and unjust.” That life is not fair at times.

I started talking about this on Twitter and one of my “tweeps” and fellow bloggers Jane Lebak made this statement, “In my humble opinion, more mature Christians tend toward mercy as they develop. I loved the idea of Real Justice as a kid. Then I witnessed it & it's scary.”

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