For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance may also supply your lack – that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack ( 2 Corinthians 8:12-15) ”’
The Declaration of Independence
Two hundred and forty three years ago on 4th July the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence with the purpose of breaking away from the colonial rule of Great Britain. The document contained the following words:
‘All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
It’s interesting that it states ‘men’ are ‘created’ equal by their Creator, i.e., God. Equally interesting, they have ‘rights’ given to them by God: specifically the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. According to the Declaration, all men should be ‘treated’ equally with regard to the preservation of their life, their liberty and their freedom to pursue happiness.
Equality and Equal Treatment
‘Treating’ people equally is quite different to people ‘being’ equal.
We know for a fact that no one is equal with another. Right from the start, even within the womb (Job 31:15; Psalm 22:9, 10), some have better prospects. Their potential for achievement is different, and their physical and mental characteristics are different. Furthermore, babies are born into different environments – even in lands with different cultures.
Therefore to say that men and women are created equal is a misnomer.
God gives each person a soul, and in that respect God treats them equally, but the nature of their *souls differ.
Physically and psychologically men and women are different. God in His wisdom created them (Genesis 5:2) to complement one another and to become one flesh (Mark 10:8) for their propagation. Equality is found in their coming together as one.
Equality and Diversity
Now in this age of diversity a great struggle is being played out. The action centres on how people treat one another. Ethnicity, religion, human rights, social mobility, politics, trade wars, global warming, armed conflicts, poverty and immigration are just some of the topical subjects about which people have different views. They posit issues highlighting inequality; for example, those who identify themselves with the **LGBTQ+ community hold fast to their rights to ‘equal’ treatment with the majority who are heterosexual.
This gets to the heart of the matter of equality – how do communities and individuals treat others?
If we are Christians we respect all people and we endeavour to love them as Jesus has commanded us (Matthew 22:39). We attempt to do these things without partiality. You might say it is our desire to treat people equally with love, respect (1 Peter 2:17) and with kindness. Jesus is our example. He didn’t discriminate (Romans 10:13). He treated all people alike, i.e., in truth and with love. He spoke plainly to those who transgressed His laws (Matthew 23:13) and He warned them of the consequences of disobedience (v. 33). He applied the same compassion (Mark 6:34) and loving kindness to all (John 3:16). On the day of judgment (Genesis 18:25) He will treat all fairly according to their faith (Romans 3:26), love and obedience .
*Mind, Body and Soul
**The Christian and Gender Orientation