My daughter sees her brother enjoying a Drumstick ice cream cone sitting at the kitchen table and immediately asks for one. She expects me to say yes and of course I will but sometimes I say no, just to see her reaction. When she hears the negative “no” she makes a face, frowning and furrowing her brows, in a mock pout because she knows this game that I play and knows that she’ll get a Drumstick ice cream cone because it’s the fair thing to do. It’s equal.
When I read about Abraham and Sarah’s reactions to being told they will have a child in their advanced years and compared it to Zechariah’s reaction to being told his elderly wife would have a child, I found it to be unequal and unfair. Abraham and Sarah both laughed (Genisis 17:17, 18:12) to themselves in disbelief when they were told they were going to have a son in their advanced years. Zechariah questioned the angel Gabriel who brought the news that he would have a son born to him in his later years (Luke 1:18). What got me was that Abraham and Sarah did not have any consequences for their disbelief but Zechariah did. Zechariah was not able to speak until John the Baptist was born. This was an inconsistency, it wasn’t equal, it’s not fair to Zechariah that he was punished for his questioning and Abraham and Sarah weren’t. How could God be unfair?
This is when I started thinking about equality verses equity. As a teacher I know that if I did the same thing for all students, not everyone will necessarily achieve the goal. Each student has different abilities and skill sets which is why equity can be a better idea of fairness. Equity gives people what they need to be successful. Equality and equity can be a confusing comparison to make, the words sound the same, and they say almost the same thing. The graphic below is a good illustration of equality verses equity (Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire).
Maybe Zechariah needed that rebuke to get him to believe he and his elderly wife will have a child together whereas Abraham and Sarah did not. This is where faith comes in that God has their best interests at heart and that He is very purposeful in what He does. Equity is personal and requires that someone recognize what an individual needs in order to be successful. It’s amazing that God loves us so much that He doesn’t just think about equality but also equity.