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When our kids were young and complained that something we did or didn’t do was “unfair,” I usually gave the stock parental response: “Who said it was supposed to be fair? Did I ever say that life was fair?” I don’t think they bought it, but it quieted them for the moment. Then when the sun was obscured in my own life, I was vexed by the unfairness of it all. Though I knew that God didn’t promise “fair,” my initial visceral reaction was to cry, “Foul! Unfair!”

I think at the core of this issue of “fairness” in the universe is how we think about God. If we believe that he owes us something because we’re such good people, then, when he doesn’t pay up, we cry, “Unfair!” But I haven’t seen anything in the Bible that supports the idea that I’m entitled to anything from the Almighty.

Friend, I am not being unfair to you… Don’t I have the right to do what I want with (what is) my own…? Jesus

Grace gives me the opposite of what I deserve, so when I toy with the idea that God is in my debt, it helps me to remember that I’m the servant and he’s the served.

– Originally published in The Other End of the Dark: A Memoir About Divorce, Cancer, and Things God Does Anyway

3 Replies to “Unfair!”

  1. This is so good, Barney. I have a lot of friends who think God is unfair and I’m never quite sure how to respond. I just feel so undeserving of all that He has done for me and for all the good things that have come to me. Thank you for another helpful perspective.


  2. Needed to meditate and hear this today. I’ve been definitely feeling this lately, the unfairness of life and I see how it is probably crippling me from accessing the joy of all that I am blessed with in my life. I especially like to play a broken record about how I’ve done all the right things in my life so why do those who don’t follow the rules get rewarded etc… it’s natural to feel that way as a human I think and the temptation to give into discontent is so great these days with the advent of social media and “reality” shows…. it’s a comparison trap. It’s easy to waste a lot of time being in that mental space and blind to all the good going on around me. I think this is an ongoing battle in life to stay focused on being grateful.


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