How do we face the unfairness of it all?

God told Adam and Eve to steer clear of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we’ve learnt since why. Because if we judge everything according to whether it’s good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral, just or unjust, we inevitably end up with a bitter feeling about the unfairness of life.

Because good people suffer, greedy employers exploit their workers, bullies rise to the top of a business, or a church, or a school classroom, innocent children die in car crashes or suffer abuse by priests, criminals get to write their memoirs and make millions, and Grandma leaves her fortune to a shelter for cats. It’s all so unfair. It’s not right. And when things are not right or not fair we don’t like it.

Animals and birds don’t get upset by these things but we do, because in our minds everything comes down to Good and Evil. Everything we do, from the time we can make choices, is governed by whether it’s Right or Wrong. And we inevitably end up blaming God, because how can a God of Goodness allow Bad things to happen to people? Why does he allow massive natural disasters, serial killers, and terrible accidents? Why let a family lose its breadwinner, or a child to die prematurely? Why let bad-living families soak the welfare system and get away with it? Why let Christians be killed, and the killers go free? But if we’re going to judge everything by its Rightness or Wrongness then all these questions can really bother us, even to rejecting God entirely.

But God did tell us to steer clear of the Tree of Deciding what’s Fair and Unfair, or judging everything by whether it’s Good or Evil, because he said it would be the death of us. And here we are now as proof of it, because it eats us up inside seeing the unfairness of a world that allows evil people to prevail, that favours some but not others with looks, money and personality, and lets us die just when we’re becoming wise and helpful.

So what’s the alternative? Well, God made that clear too. It’s trusting him. But that’s so difficult to do, isn’t it, when God doesn’t stop unfairness? But who else can we turn to for answers? Job turned to God, but Adam and Eve didn’t. For the life of him Job couldn’t understand why he was suffering so unfairly, but he never turned his back on God. That’s how he faced the unfairness of it all, and God got him through it.


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