Friday before the 6th Sunday of Easter: Psalm 67
Reading: Psalm 67
Equity, not Equality
I’m a little bit of a word nerd.
Well, probably more than a little. I’m fascinated by the little wiggles in definition that give words very specific meaning. Synonyms are great for helping us not use the same words over and over, but that doesn’t mean those words are purely interchangeable. Equity and equality are two words that many people flip flop between, but they mean very different things.
Equality sounds nice enough, and it’s in a good direction. Equality means everybody gets the same thing. Four kids; a dozen donuts. Everybody gets 3 donuts. Sound fair? Sure, everybody gets the same thing. That’s equality.
Equity, on the other hand goes a step further. Equity knows that one of the kids is diabetic and can’t eat the donuts. Equity seeks to give to each as they have need, a cultural balance I seem to remember reading about somewhere. My friend Melvin describes it this way: 3 kids of varying heights are standing outside of a baseball game with their view blocked by a fence. Equality gives each kid a 1’ tall box to stand on. But even with the boxes, only one of the kids can see over the fence. Equity gives each kid a box tall enough to give them a view of the game.
Equality is willing to take a shortcut that equity doesn’t. Equality hands everyone the same thing, and that’s better than nothing. But equity makes it about the individual and asks the question, “What do you need?”
With that in mind, it’s certainly reassuring to find the word equity associated with how God looks on the people. And it gives us hope that grace does the same.
When have you had your needs individually met?
When have you missed an opportunity to treat someone as an individual?
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