Book Review: God is Not "Fair"1
by Rich Deem


God is not fair?

The title sounds like a possible rant by one of the new atheists. However, one should note that the word "Fair" is in quotes for a reason.

Rich Deem

God is not fair! It is the common complaint for the majority of people undergoing intense suffering or loss. If this describes you or if you are still struggling with life's unfairness that happened to you many years ago, Joel Freeman's book God Is Not "Fair" is for you. Written from Dr. Freeman's perspective of being a pastor with a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling, God Is Not "Fair" examines the question of suffering from both the Bible and personal experience. Freeman is a talented writer, who uses his knowledge of the Bible, his experience in pastoral counseling and years of serving as a senior pastor to address the practical ways to deal with suffering in light of God's love and justice.

Is God unfair?

God Is Not "Fair"One of the most common question people ask when something bad happens to them is "Why me?" The natural assumption is that God has singled you out for some kind of unfair treatment. Although we all have a strong sense of fairness, we tend to compare our lives with those who "have it all." Freeman shows that the concept of fairness was originally brought up by Satan in the garden of Eden. Satan's implication that God was not being fair to Eve was god enough to trick Eve in disobeying God. Freeman concludes that at least part of Satan's strategy is to convince people that God is not fair. If the strategy is accepted, then God would not be considered worthy of worship.

God's justice and mercy

Our tendency is to think that God owes us something, instead of realizing that God is in charge of everything. We exist and are provided for by God through is mercy and love. Although God's justice will ultimately prevail, His mercy characterizes how we are treated in this life.

Dealing with pain

Freeman gives many examples of how and how not to deal with pain and suffering. He recounts his first counseling disaster - a theologically correct, but "buzzard-like" response. Freeman explains the ordeal of "Bob," whose wife left him for his "best friend." Bob was devastated and betrayed, not even wanting to continue to live. After several weeks of pouring out his heart, Bob was given an assignment by Freeman, which turned around his understanding and released him from his trap.


Just when you think the book is finished, there are several appendices that are definitely worth reading. The first is "The Paradoxical Commandments" by Kent Keith. The second is a long list of quotes, which are both humorous and insightful. The third is a biblical comparison between justice/mercy vs. fairness. The fourth is a biblical survey of suffering and how it applies in general or to believers vs. unbelievers. The fifth is a list of Bible verses that are helpful in dealing with thoughts of God's "unfairness."

Conclusion Top of page

God Is Not "Fair" is a great book for learning how to deal with suffering or how to minister to people who are in such a position. Suffering is never easy to explain or work through, but Joel Freeman gives us some good tools and practical advice to help us with it.

God Is Not "Fair"

References Top of page

  1. God Is Not Fair: Coming To Terms With Life's Raw Deals by Joel A. Freeman. Publisher: Freeman Publishing. 13-digit ISBN: 987-097105112-6. Date of publication: July 15, 2011.
Last Modified May 17, 2011


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