When Life Seems Unfair: 4 Important Principles to Remember

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This topic teaches us what to do when life seems unfair. Acts 24 & 25 show us how biased the situation of Paul was.

He was accused of crimes he did not commit. If you read through Acts chapters 24 & 25, one of the themes of the two chapters is the unfair treatment of the world towards Christians.

Remember that life will always be unfair, whether you’re a believer or not. However, it is essential to understand that the unfair treatment that believers experience is because of our faith in Christ.

18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 15:18-21

Your family, neighbors, workmates, and friends can become unfair toward you because of your faith. But as Christians, we need to respond with grace, as we can see through the example of the apostle Paul. He exemplified these 4 Important principles even when life seems unfair.

When life seems unfair, keep your integrity.

24And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 25He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

Acts 24:25-26

Paul was kept in prison because of a false accusation. While he was in jail, Felix regularly talked to Paul not to hear the gospel, but he was hoping that Paul would give him money in exchange for his freedom.

Whether Paul had the money or not, he never succumbed to the temptation of exchanging his freedom for money. The issue here was never about Paul’s freedom since Paul was innocent. The point here was about integrity.

Integrity is who you are when no one is watching.

Edifying the saints

Even when the world mistreats us, we must keep our integrity. Notice that Paul had already preached the gospel and taught Felix about the Lord Jesus Christ. It would have been hypocritical for Paul to preach the gospel and bribe Felix.

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians 1:27

When life seems unfair, keep on praying.

In his prison letters, he often mentions his prayers for the churches and particular people within those churches. Notice what he says in his prison epistles.

3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

Philippians 1:3-4

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

Colossians 1:3

I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

Philemon 1:4

I’m sure that Paul is praying for his release from prison. But most of Paul’s prayers recorded in the scriptures are for other people. He only asked the church to pray for his preaching of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

Even when life is unfair, we need to keep on praying not only for ourselves but also for others.

Of course, Paul also prayed for himself when he asked the Lord Jesus Christ to rid him of his thorn in the flesh. But most of his prayers recorded in the Scriptures are for others.

When life seems unfair, keep on encouraging.

Paul had every reason to complain in his letter to the Philippians. But his letter is filled with rejoicing.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

There are times when Paul had to mention his sufferings in his epistles to the churches. He does this not to focus the attention on him but to encourage the people and to be an example to them. Therefore, he could tell the Philippians not to be complainers.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

Philippians 2:14

Who in the church of Philippi could complain when Paul himself refused to complain?

5And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Numbers 21:5-6

Christians who are complainers usually have no direction in life. They wander around just like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.

These people are ungrateful. They have seen the mighty hand of God but do not appreciate it. They only see the things that they lack, not what they have.

Let us be an encouragement even when life seems unfair. Not a stumbling block

When life seems unfair, keep on trusting.

12But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Philippians 1:12-14

Paul was letting the Philippian church know that God had a bigger plan in light of his suffering. Because of Paul’s imprisonment, many were motivated to preach the gospel. So instead of focusing on our unfair situation, let’s focus on God’s bigger picture.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Considering all those principles, just like the Apostle Paul, when life seems unfair, let us keep on serving.

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