Why Doesn’t Evil Get Punished?
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Psalm 91:8, KJV
Question: Why does the guilty one seem to get away with wrongdoing? Ever ask yourself that? There are times when it appears that the real winner is the liar, the cheat, the scoundrel—at least at the onset. Take, for example, the woman who asks the penetrating question about the betrayal of her husband. She writes, “Why isn’t he suffering, why is he getting away without any pain. He sinned, he caused the pain and yet I’m the one walking through the fire, and I’m the one carrying around the scars from the burns.”
Long ago the psalmist affirmed: “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked” (Psalm 91:8, KJV). What appears to be their reward is short-lived.
David was also troubled by the issue of the bad guy seeming to win. In Psalm 37 he talks at length about the wicked. Fourteen times he alludes to them in one way or another—how they take advantage of the poor, how they seem to amass wealth, and how they appear to get ahead of the person with integrity and honor. Yet, says David, their gain is short-lived. They die and face judgment while the righteous not only lie down at night with a clear conscience but will have peace and inherit the land. “Better the little that the righteous have,” he says, “than the wealth of many wicked” (Psalm 37:16).
Does the individual who does wrong get away with no apparent pain or guilt–say, for example, the man who walks out on his wife and children for a younger woman—”What I’ve always wanted!” he boasts, rejecting the tears and pleas of his wife and children not to leave? Sometimes—at least so it appears. Short term gains with long term consequences, however, eventually crumble and decay.
OK, then, why does God allow sinful men to take advantage of their families? Why doesn’t He stop them from doing this? That’s the old question of why does God allow evil in the world?
Why didn’t God keep Adam and Eve from taking the forbidden fruit? The simple but not completely satisfying answer is because He made us in His image, giving us a will to choose right or wrong, and thus making our love for Him and our choices for right and good meaningful.
God gave you a choice: do right or do wrong. Choose good or evil. But He taught us that with every choice come consequences, and though at the end of the day, the gavel may not be slammed down on evil, there comes the eventual judgment of God when the dead, both small and great, stand before Him and are judged according to their deeds.
Pain and heartache take your mind from the whole and focuses it only on your immediate loss, much like a toothache that hurts but isn’t as serious as if you had chest pains signaling a heart attack.
Forgiving the person who has wronged you takes you beyond that pain and helps you find healing. To forgive isn’t saying, “What you did is OK,” rather it is saying, “I put the wrong you have done in God’s hands. He can deal with you. I’m getting on with my life.” And when you do that, whether or not the person who wronged you is getting off without punishment, it pales. And He is far more capable of meting out judgement than we are. Remember, God will have His payday someday.
Resource reading: Psalm 37