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How to Find Biblical Joy When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

“Teach me to treat all that comes to me with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.” ― Elisabeth Elliot

It was late one evening when I received a phone call from a friend. She was going through a difficult time and asked if my daughter and I could come over. We quickly got in the car and drove to her home. When she answered the door, she was talking about her circumstances with someone on the phone. She motioned for us to come in and sit down. We sat down in her living room and listened to the conversation. We could hear both sides of the conversation because she had turned on her speakerphone. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the person she was talking with, not knowing that I was sitting in the room, began to talk about my husband and me, putting us in a negative light. My friend, my daughter, and I froze! We were in shock, not believing what we were hearing. My daughter looked at me, we looked at our friend, and she quickly tried to shut down the conversation. She finally hung up, looked at me, and said, “I am so sorry!”

We were stunned at what had just happened and tried to move on as best we could. When I got home, I shared with my husband what had happened, and he suggested I ask this person why they had said what they did. When confronted, they denied they said what three of us had heard them say. There was not much more we could do.

In the months following this incident, we heard from other sources that this person had been saying things about my husband and me that were untrue. We were able to correct what had been said to those who came to us with the information. Were we hurt by this? Yes, we were. And although we were not surprised, we were also extremely disappointed.

Eventually, we could work through the mix of emotions - hurt, disappointment, anger – and see that God allowed this to happen so we would become aware that the person, who was in a leadership position, could not be trusted. As of today, this person has denied saying what three witnesses heard them say.

Verses to Help You When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

Friends arguing toxic narcissist

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia

Psalm 37:8 “Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”

When we go through situations where we are treated unfairly, it is a good idea to pause and think about the best way to respond. Go to the Word and ask God for wisdom. Bring the situation to him and ask God to help you keep from becoming bitter or angry.

Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go, and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

I find it easier to handle being treated unfairly when the person at fault is not a believer. Even though it is exceedingly difficult, I do not expect a person who does not know God to act like they do. When the person at fault is a believer, it can be very confusing, hurtful, and disappointing. Matthew 18 guides us in what we are called to do when we are dealing with a believer who has hurt us. In the situation I shared, I did ask the offending person about what they had said. They did not admit to what they had done. Sadly, that allowed distrust and division to enter in.

1 Peter 2:19-20 “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it, you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”

Inevitably, all of us will eventually suffer unjust treatment. We will be treated unfairly, be misunderstood, and our motives will be misinterpreted and questioned. We are responsible for ourselves and the condition of our own hearts before God. We can only do so much to try and make things right; then, we need to leave it in the hands of our loving Father, who allows us to experience unjust treatment for his purposes and our sanctification.

What Good Comes When You Have Been Treated Unfairly

  • You have the opportunity to suffer in the same way that Jesus did. Remember that our Savior, Jesus, was treated unfairly and was 100% innocent of anything he could have been accused of. He understands everything you are feeling and is able to sustain and comfort you. He is your defense.
  • You have an opportunity to lean into God and ask him to help you honor him in the way you respond to the person who has treated you unjustly. You can seek God and allow him to infuse you with his power and way of viewing your difficult circumstances.
  • You have an opportunity to pray for the person or persons who have treated you unfairly. If they are not believers, ask God to help them respond in a way that might be a testimony and an opportunity to share the gospel. If they are a believer, you have an opportunity to pray for them and offer forgiveness, whether they ever see their error.

Find Biblical Joy by Focusing on God

Thank Him for Who He Is:

Father, thank you for being El Roi – the God who sees. You can see how I have been treated unfairly. You heard every word spoken and knew every heart motive that went into each word. You can also see my own heart and how I have responded to the unjust treatment. If I sin in my response, I am no better than the one who has sinned against me. Help me to remember that you see it all.

Thank Him for His Faithfulness:

Father, thank you for being faithful to strengthen and sustain me during this challenging time. You comfort me, and your spirit prompts me to respond in a way that glorifies you, no matter what anyone else does to me.

Thank Him for His Promises:

Father, thank you for your promises that tell me that, one day, all wrongs will be made right, all evil will be exposed, all unjust treatment will end, and that one day there will be no more tears.

Thank Him for His Provisions:

Thank you for your provision of faithful brothers and sisters who come alongside me during tough times, remind me of truth, encourage me to respond correctly, pray with me, and assure me that the way I have been treated is, indeed, unjust, but that one day you will make it all right.

To learn more about how to choose biblical joy, check out my book “Everyday Prayers for Joy”!  

For weekly encouragement on how to choose biblical joy in all circumstances, subscribe to “Choose Biblical Joy Today 

This article is part of a series by Gina Smith on biblical joy. Here are more of her articles:

How to Find Biblical Joy When You Battle Depression

Finding Biblical Joy in Loneliness

How to Find Biblical Joy When Life Doesn’t Look the Way You Thought it Would

Premium PDF Compilation - Finding Biblical Joy in the Midst of Trials

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/
Gina Smith is a writer and author. She has been married for 35 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For 25+ years, she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington, DC, and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter. She recently authored her first traditionally published book, Everyday Prayers for Joy, which is available everywhere books are sold. You can find Gina at the following: Website:, Instagram, and at Million Praying Moms, where she is a writer.


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