How Do You Handle Life When It Isn’t Fair?

“It’s not fair!!”

The young mother had not only heard it once but a thousand times over.  If it wasn’t the amount of M&M’s her children were receiving it was the color of the candy.  

How many times have you been in a situation where it just wasn’t fair?  You had worked longer, studied harder, given more, and still came up with the short end of the stick?

You are not alone.

David and his men arrived in Ziklag to smoldering fire from the burning of their town by raiders.  Their wives and children kidnapped, and all their belongings vanished.  The grief was intense.  But God strengthened David and assured him that if they went in pursuit of the raiders, He would give them victory.  As David and his men prepared to battle, some stayed behind while others participated in the actual pursuit and fighting.  

David and the 600 men with him went as far as the Wadi Besor, where 200 men who were to remain behind would stop.  They stopped because they were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor.  David and 400 of the men continued in pursuit.  1 Samuel 30:9-10

No one argued with this arrangement until it was all said and done.  It was after the victory had been given and all their wives, children and belongings were returned that the complaining and “injustice” surfaced.

When David came to the 200 men who had been too exhausted to go with him and had been left at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet him and to meet the troops with him.  When David approached the men, he greeted them, but all the corrupt and useless men among those who had gone with David argued, “Because they didn’t go with us, we will not give any of the plunder we recovered to them except for each man’s wife and children.  They may take them and go.”

But David said, “My brothers, you must not do this with what the LORD has given us.  He protected us and handed over to us the raiders who came against us.  Who can agree to your proposal?  The share of the one who goes into battle is to be the same as the share of the one who remains with the supplies.  They will share equally.”  And it has been so from that day forward.  David established this policy as a law and an ordinance of Israel and it continues to this very day. 1 Samuel 30:9-10, 21-25

You may have heard it said, and even read it in the Bible, that David is characterized as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).  His recognition of God’s provision, as well as a heart of gratitude and dependence upon God, brought to light the heart of justice found in the character of God.  

David demonstrates two things that help us to see how to handle life when it does not seem fair.

Right View Of God

David had a proper view of God.  He knew that it was God alone who had given them the victory.  He pointed his men to the Protector and Giver of their belongings and victory.  God didn’t just return the wives, children and belongings to the ones who were fighting.  He returned ALL the wives, children and belongings.  

Wise leadership was demonstrated on David’s part, but it was because his eyes were focused on the true character of who God is and not on what God could do for David.  This allowed David the freedom to pass on God’s character to all his men and not just select favored ones.  

Right View Of Man

As David kept his eyes on God, he was able to see man through God’s eyes.  Since we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), our behavior and treatment of others should correspond to this truth.  Our actions towards others should not be in contradiction to it.  

The enemy always tries to distort the real character of God.  The justice of God and His generosity can easily be skewed towards socialism, communism, and bondage.  The critical thing to remember is that God is perfect in all His ways.  His justice, generosity, and equality are never out of proportion to His will or ways.  We should never consider ourselves better than others, but have hearts of gratitude for what God has given to us and how He alone has kept and protected us.

When we keep a right view of God and see man through the eyes of God, then we avoid the heartache of living with self-perceived injustices.  R. C. Sproul, in his book Before the Face of God Book 1, shares : 

When God’s honor is exalted and his majesty worshiped, then human dignity is elevated.  Conversely, wherever the dignity of God is attacked, sooner or later the dignity of humanity suffers.  Since human beings are created in the image of God there is a very real sense in which as God goes, so goes the image-bearer.  If we corrupt and denigrate the living God who is our Creator, then the image of himself, which he has made, suffers accordingly.


It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since the release of the movie, Horton Hears A Who.  A favorite by adults and children alike, we were reminded that everyone has value no matter the size, color, financial or social status.  Created in the image of God, our actions should correspond to this truth.  

Whether you receive five M&Ms or three, whether you get three blue and two green or three yellow and no red, remember that God has provided for you.  Be thankful and run to Him for His justice.  Do not try to rely on your own means, but rely on the God who gives generously, loves unconditionally, and is just in all His ways.  

Keep a right view of God and a right view of man.  We do this by remembering Jesus’ words when asked what the greatest commandment was:  

This is the most important, Jesus answered:

Listen, Israel!  The Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.

The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other command greater than these.  Mark 12:29-31 

How are you going to handle life the next time it is unfair to you?



Additional Resources

Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss

Galatians 3:28

Matthew 20:1-16

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