Is God Unfair when evil things happen?
Is God unfair? In other words, are there times when God seems to show partiality towards contemptible individuals while letting the innocent suffer? From our perspective, it seems unjust that God would let a precious child contract a devastating illness while allowing a criminal to live a long healthy life. Where is the God of balance and equity that we long for?
We struggle daily with what is “owed us.” If we work hard and live honorably, then doesn’t God owe us a good life? We reward our children for good behavior and punish them for their disobedience. Job’s less than compassionate friend, Bildad, believed that God was “fair” in punishing His servant Job and would “fairly” reward a righteous life (Job 8:1-7). The prophet, Habakkuk, questioned God’s “fairness” in using the wicked Chaldeans to punish the more righteous (Habakkuk 1:12-13). Trouble is we don’t realize that we actually miss the mark of goodness every day of our lives. We are not perfect, we never will be, yet we expect God to confer a perfect “reward” or blessing. If God was “fair” (balanced with an eye for an eye) we would all be condemned. “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).
Is God Unfair in our daily struggles?
Why is God unfair -- perhaps even blind or deaf -- to our daily sufferings? The children of Israel cried out during their bondage in Egypt. A faithful Job suffered the loss of his property, family, and health, with God’s approval. And what of those followers of Christ who still face torture and martyrdom for their faith? Why doesn’t God protect them . . . His devoted children? What exempts us from pain and suffering -- good behavior, generous gifts, sacrificial acts, hours of prayer, a vow of poverty? The list goes on.
If God is indeed “fair,” by man’s definition, He would be dispassionate and detached. As the Judge of all the earth, He alone determines our worth (Genesis 18:25; Psalm 9:7-8). In Jesus’ Story of the Vineyard Workers, the laborers who worked throughout the day received the same wages as the laborers who worked only the last hour (Matthew 20:1-13). Some of the workers protested the “unfairness.” Jesus’ replied, “Many who are first now will be last then; and those who are last now will be first then.” In understanding the God’s fairness, we must have a Kingdom of Heaven perspective, not an earthly one. God is just as well as merciful. One of His purposes in revealing Himself through creation and history is so man would seek Him. God passionately seeks connection with the contemptible as well as the innocent (Acts 17:27–28).
Is God Unfair - Conclusion
Again, we might ask ourselves, “Is God unfair” by allowing an innocent man to die (Mark 15:7)? It wasn’t “fair” that the insurrectionist and murderer Barabbas be pardoned while Jesus, the Son of God . . . innocent and sinless . . . should be mocked, horribly disfigured, and executed with criminals (Mark 15:7, 17–20). Have we earned greater “preferential treatment” than Jesus?
God gave us a free will, to choose or reject Him. Even so, His Son, Jesus Christ surrendered His life for all mankind. The scale of virtue tips heavily against us . . . sinful, self-centered, and stubborn. Through abundant grace, not fairness, a just God tips the scales in our favor (Ephesians 2:4-5).
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