When Life Is Unfair

When life is unfair, make faces! (Actually this little guy is having fun!)

Do you ever feel like life is just not quite fair? Let’s face it, it isn’t! No matter how hard we may try to make it fair, sometimes life is just not fair! The good news is that even during those times, God is with us and He is working out His purpose even in the midst of those times. Knowing that may not make your situation easier, but it will help to make it bearable because we know that God is bearing it with us and He will lead us through somehow.

When my kids were little, I had a crazy inspiration one time when yet again, one of them was complaining because life was just unfair. I don’t remember the situation for sure. I think it was when one of them thought that their sibling was getting by with something and they weren’t. Anyway, my crazy inspiration was to tell them a policeman story. I said, “So I guess if I get pulled over by a policeman, I should tell him, ‘but officer it’s just so unfair that you pulled me over because the guy in front of me was speeding too!’” I’m not sure my kids appreciated my story fully, but they did get the idea.

Life is not fair especially by our standards. Sometimes when we cry, “Unfair!”, we actually are getting what we deserve and then there are other situations where we really are being treated unfairly, either way, we usually don’t like what we are having to go through. What do we do when we get caught and yet our accomplice in crime (or a fun prank) goes scot free? What do we do when we have done nothing at all wrong like in the case of Joseph and yet someone lies about us and we are left carrying the blame and possibly even imprisoned by their accusations? What do we do when someone cheats us or is unkind to us or just plain rude? What can we do but look up!

Instead of getting mad and sulking, how about going to God with whatever happens to us? Can we pray for the person who treated us wrongly? After being knocked down in life, can we get back up again, brush ourselves off and go on in the strength that God provides? I think we can because God is with us and He will give us the strength to go on. Life happens. Things are not always going to go the way we want them to go. In fact some really bad stuff can happen to really good people, but God is with us. If we give Him all our unfair situations, He can bring good out of each one just like He did for Joseph. Yes, there is a time and place to stand up for ourselves too, but whining and complaining about how badly we’ve been treated simply keeps us stuck where we are. Let’s ask God to help us move on from those unfair situations while still honoring God and others.

W hat can we tell our kids when they cry, “Unfair!” How can we help them work through the unfair situations in life? One of the best things I think we can do is walk with them through it. Help them see that when unfair things happen, we can still respond with love and grace as God helps us to do so. We don’t have to stay stuck in the unfair situation. Instead, let’s see how we can make the best of the situation like Joseph did.

See the below for a few more ideas to get you started – I would love hearing your ideas as well.

Dear God,
Thank you that you are with us all the time even when hard or unfair things happen. I know that even in the midst of a hard situation, you are working out your plan. I know that I don’t have to be afraid or remain stuck when confronted with unfair situations. I can make good choices and move on. You will guide me and help me to rise above the hard situations in my life as I look to you. I ask God that you would show me and all the kids in my life what we can learn through each difficult situation. When something is unfair, remind us to take it to you first of all. Show us what we can do to remedy the situation if we can and for those things that we can’t change, show us how to get up and go on cheerfully, instead of being defeated by the situation. Grow us and teach us that we can depend more and more on you for you are with us. Amen


  • Listen to what your child says within reason of course. If you are dealing with a two year old who is tired and overwhelmed then of course, a nap might be the best solution!
    • Is there anything your child can do to change the situation? Maybe talk to an adult such as a teacher or the person in charge. If there is, encourage your child to do so.
      • Help your child use words to talk to the child who treated him badly instead of reacting. EX: When someone takes a toy away from him, he can say, “I was playing with that toy. You can play with it in a little while.” or “Give me back my car and I will give you this one to play with.” Any attempt at using words instead of reacting by hitting or grabbing is a step forward.
    • Is there anything your child could have done differently? It’s easy to blame someone else or cry unfair when really your child could have acted differently and the outcome would have been different. Often preschoolers have a hard time distinguishing between what seems unfair and what they are responsible for so be patient.
      • If another child has been mean or treated your child unfairly, you may need to limit your child’s time with that child. You can also pray for that child, talk with a teacher at school or the parents or maybe even talk to the other child depending on the situation. Do stand up for your child as needed. Bullying is not okay!
      • In those situations that you can’t change, teach your child to get up, brush themselves off and continue on. If it truly is an unfair situation, make sure your child knows that they are not to blame and that you love them. Validate your child’s feelings.
        EX: If your child’s bike is stolen because he/she forgot to bring it in at night, then let him know you are very sorry that the bike is gone. Work with your child to save money to buy another bike and look for the silver-lining. Working together to reach the goal of getting a new bike can be a fun, bonding experience.
      • Help your child to understand that bad things happen to everyone and that you and God will be with him no matter what. Encourage your child to talk to God about these situations. God will help him.
      • Teach your child empathy. If someone treats your child unfairly, then maybe that person is just having a bad day, misunderstood or isn’t feeling well. Everyone says unkind things sometimes. Teach your child to forgive and go on. Also teach them to say, “I’m sorry!” or “Please forgive me.” when they’ve hurt someone else’s feelings.
      • Remind your child that they are loved. If one person treats them unfairly, there are a lot of other people that do love and care for them such as God, parents, other friends and teachers, etc. Don’t let one bad experience ruin their whole day.

Kid’s Section

SHARE A STORY: Joseph In Prison – Genesis 39 & 40
Joseph worked hard for a man named Potiphar. (Pound fist together as though working.) He worked very, very hard everyday and he did a good job. God was with Joseph and blessed his work. Potiphar liked Joseph too. (Smile!) He was happy with Joseph’s work. (Smile!) He asked Joseph to take good care of everything that he had. Joseph made good choices. He knew God was with him and was helping him.

But one day something unfair happened. Potiphar’s wife told a lie about Joseph. She said that Joseph was very rude to her. (Say, “You are rude!” and frown.) Potiphar was not happy. (Frown!) He was very mad! He said, “Put him in jail!” Joseph had to go to jail even though he hadn’t done anything wrong. Oh, that’s bad! (Shake head.) Now what will Joseph do? Would he whine and complain? (Throw hands out to the sides.) Well even in jail, God was with Joseph and helped him. (Point up and give yourself a hug.)

Joseph could have been very scared in jail, but He trusted God and made good choices even in jail. He knew God was with Him. God was kind to Joseph even when he was in jail. The man in charge of the jail put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. Wow! God was really taking care of him! (Give self a hug.)

God will take care of you too just like He took care of Joseph. (Give self a hug.) He will help you make good choices and use good words. (Put hand by mouth.) He can even help you when you are afraid, hurt or mad. (Make sad and mad face.) God will help you all the time. (Make a big circle with your hands for all the time.)

MEMORIZE: Isaiah 43:5 – (Hold hands like reading a book.)
Do not be afraid – (Show scared face.)
For I am – (Point upwards.)
With you – (Point to self.)

Dear God,
Help me make good choices like Joseph did. I know that you love me and that you will be with me all the time. Amen

KNOW: I am not afraid to make good choices. I know God is with me.
TALK ABOUT: Unfair situations and how to make good choices.
ASK: Who made you? God made me.What can you do? I can ask God to help me make good choices even when life is unfair.


  • Role play what to do in certain situations such as when he spills his milk or when baby sister takes a toy away. 
  • Practice listening – taking the time to stop and listen can be a BIG part of making good choices.


Author: faithstepsandmore

I am a mom of three, grandmother of eight and have worked with young children for over thirty years. I currently write curriculum, speak for women's groups, do chapel for a daycare center and help with teacher/volunteer training at churches. I love what I do. There is nothing better than helping kids take those first steps of faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine.

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