Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

January 08, 2009

“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” – Psalm 73:3-5

I had lunch with a man who mentioned that something was really bugging him. “I really don’t have a problem with the fact that sometimes bad things happen to good people. I understand that God gives man free will and that sometimes those choices – even good ones – have bad results. I’m actually OK with that.”

“Then what is bugging you?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t understand why good things happen to bad people. Why do criminals get away with crimes? Why do corrupt politicians have their sins exposed and yet see their popularity soar?” I was about to impart some brilliant theology when he gave me my opening. “And why is it that an atheist famous for calling Christians a bunch of losers is allowed to accumulate fame and wealth beyond imagination? Why has he been so blessed?”

“Well, let’s see,” I began. “You say this man is an atheist?” He nodded. “And, if I’m not mistaken, the fellow you are talking about has had several marriages break up?” Again he nodded. “So here is a man with a miserable family life and – unless he changes his views on Jesus Christ – will never see heaven. And you call him blessed?” I continued. “Let me ask you something. Despite his fame and riches, would you trade places with this man?”

“No way. Not even for a second,” he replied.

Would you?