Does God ever punish disproportionately?

Monday Musings for January 17, 2022

Good morning, Musers,

Do any of you ever feel as if God is not being fair... either to you or to a character in the Bible? That’s a natural feeling. Cries of, “That’s not fair!” come from the lips of children around the world. It’s like they have a superpower... able to evaluate the smallest inequity instantly — and then complain about it!

This is part of what it is to be a child... to advocate for one’s self and others who are being oppressed by the world of the adults. Now, if you are still complaining about perceived inequities, I have two things to say: good for you! Fair is fair. And grow up. You deserve nothing.

In my new book entitled, “Let’s think critically about God for more than 1/10 of a second” (There is no such book.), I call people out for being immature... for criticizing God’s actions rather than trying to understand them. God is infinitely good… is he not?

Consider the children who are complaining about fairness. They are clueless about what it takes to run a family... how it’s a continual assessment of how do I accumulate and redistribute resources in a manner that supports the entire family... not just its six-year-olds. God makes these judgments too... but the scope is different. His family includes all people throughout all time. “Hey God... don’t forget to bring home milk.”

I sort of “get it” that children are immature... and part of that immaturity is complaining about what other people have in relation to the things they don’t have. If this is excessive, it’s okay to call them “spoiled.” But let’s not be too hard on them. If God did not wire them for self-interest and self-preservation, our species would have died off a long time ago!

But God also created us to be social beings... to cleave to a spouse... to protect our family and community. We have moral compasses in the form of the human conscience, and those of us who have graduated from childhood into mature responsibilities look back at our historic and appropriate selfish little selves and laugh. But do we? Do we laugh... or do we persist?

When God gave Miriam leprosy, we tend to cheer. She deserved that smack. How dare she challenge click Moses’ headship over Israel... which is a symbol of his headship over us? But when God opens up the ground and swallowed Korah’s children, I wince. I hate that! I hate that it happened… and I hate teaching it... but I dare not ignore it. We all have a point where our hearts cry, “That’s not fair!”

Now, God is not necessarily “fair” as we perceive fair… although he is quite a bit. Many of his blessings are contingent upon the behavior. This is the essence of fairness! But before he is fair, God is sovereign. This means that he does what he wants, to whom he wants, when he wants and how he wants... and our sense of fairness is not always preserved.

My suggestion is, if you want to feel better about God, study more about him. Stare at the truth for a good long time. It won’t kill you. But it sometimes kills children.


(Click here to read the article referenced above. For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)