What About When Life Is Unfair?

“But that’s not fair!” is the phrase that is declared by people all around the world who feel that have not been treated with equality and justice. Everyone wants to be treated with the same standards, but the truth is that life is unfair. Every person will experience unfairness in their life, but as believers we can learn how to handle this unfairness in life through the example of Jesus—who chose to do right no matter the cost!

God Is Always Fair—He Is Our Standard

  • For us to measure if something is fair or not, we have to have something to measure it by. There has to be a standard that says something is fair or unfair. Ultimately, that standard is God Himself. The Bible says that God is the Rock—representing strength, stability and permanence. We can trust God to be fair and unchanging. He makes the perfect standard from which everything else is judged because His work is perfect and all His ways are justice (judgment, fair). You don’t have to worry about God telling you something wrong because He is a God of truth and faithfulness without any sin (iniquity, evil). God is just and right—by all standards He is righteous and good—He is the standard.
    Deuteronomy 32:4
  • When Jehoshaphat put judges over God’s people in the Old Testament He told the judges to “let the fear of the Lord be upon you”—meaning that they were to have a holy respect for God who was to be their standard of fairness as they did their job of judging the land. Their judgments were to reflect God’s character of justice and impartiality—for there is no iniquity (unrighteousness) with God, nor respect of persons (partiality), nor taking of gifts (accepting bribes to not judge fairly). God is fair.
    2 Chronicles 19:7

Jesus Endured Unfairness—He is Our Example

  • Jesus was sent into the world by God. He was sent to be a light in the world—to show mankind the truth so that they could be saved through faith in Him. Jesus was equal with God but took upon Him the form of a servant. During His time on earth Jesus obeyed all that God told Him to do and say. He obeyed His heavenly Father—who is always fair!
    Philippians 2:6–7; John 12:44–50
  • Jesus experienced many of the same things that we experience. He experienced being tired, being hungry, and being thirsty. He experienced different emotions, such as: He marveled, He wept, and His soul was troubled. All of this points to Him being fully human.
    Matthew 4:2; 8:10; 26:38; John 11:35; 12:27; 19:28; Hebrews 5:7
  • Even though Jesus was fully human, He was different from us in that He was sinless. Jesus never committed a sin. His virgin birth made it possible for Him to be born without sin. He lived in the same corrupted world that we do and had many of the same temptations, but He never sinned.
    John 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15
  • Life wasn’t always fair to Jesus. Many didn’t respect Jesus or listen to the message that He had for them. Some people lied about Jesus and mistreated Him. But Jesus did nothing wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. He was the example of perfection. Being such, He responded to the unfairness by humbling Himself and becoming obedient unto death—even the death of the cross. Jesus responded by submitting to God’s will.
    Philippians 2:7–8; Luke 22:42
  • God knew the world was an unfair place—it became that way after the first man sinned against God—but He chose to send Jesus into the world anyway. Why would God do this? Because of something wonderful called grace—the free and unmerited favor of God that makes a way for our sins to be forgiven. God knew that it was only fair that all unfairness and sin had to be adequately punished but He loved us and wanted to rescue us from this punishment—therefore, He made Jesus to be sin for us (who knew no sin) so that in Jesus we might be made the righteousness of God. God loved you so much that He allowed Jesus to suffer “unfair treatment” or “treatment that should have been yours” so that He could offer you salvation through grace by faith.
    2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:10; 23; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Peter 2:24–25

Believers Endure Unfairness—For The Glory Of God

  • As believers, we are called to honour the authority that is above us with respect. Servants are to submit to their masters. Children are to submit to their parents. Citizens are to submit to their government. We are to submit to them when they are good, gentle and fair to us but also when they are bad, intolerant and unfair to us. We are to endure unfair treatment from those who have authority over us because this honors God. Sometimes we will do wrong and we will deserve the treatment that we get, other times we will have done nothing wrong, but we are still to endure the grief while suffering unjustly—this is acceptable with God. We submit to authority to honor God.
    1 Peter 2:18–20; Titus 3:1-7
  • As believers, we are called to follow in Jesus’ steps—meaning because Jesus suffered for us without sin, we are to also suffer without sinning. Jesus suffered but He didn’t sin in response. He didn’t respond with deception or verbal abuse. The danger in retaliating to unfair treatment is that we could respond with the same unfair treatment or sin. Instead of responding with sin, Jesus continued committing Himself to God—who judges right. Jesus endured unfairness to honor God who knew that He would make all things right one day. Therefore, we should also endure unfairness to honor God.
    1 Peter 2:21-23
  • As believers, we are to submit to our authorities, good or bad, but we also have the right to not obey them when they are asking us to do something illegal (fraud, physical or sexually abuse, etc.) or to do something that is contrary to what God has commanded (forbid to teach in Jesus name, they want you to lie, etc.).
    Acts 4:19-20; 5:29
  • As believers, we are to be minsters of grace in this world. The authorities over us are sinners and will always be sinners until they die. We have an amazing opportunity to minister grace to them—the same grace that God showed to us. When you are mistreated by those who have authority above you and they don’t deserve your respect this is the perfect time to show grace—respond by giving them unearned respect and kindness because you are choosing to honor God!

Review Questions

  • Who or what is the standard of “fairness”?
  • What kind of unfairness did Jesus endure?
  • Why was Jesus willing to endure this unfairness?
  • As believers, what are we called to do?
  • As believers, why are we called to do that?

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