“In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing” (Ecclesiastes 7:15).
Why do good things happen to bad people? Why do the wicked sometimes prosper? For example…
- Some CEOS will make millions of dollars and be given millions of dollars even though they are purposely mismanaging their companies and stealing from their employees.
- Some authors are making millions of dollars writing books blaspheming God.
- Some of the richest, wealthiest people in the world are atheists or haters of God.
- Some leaders throughout history have committed awful acts of genocide killing millions while their countries or empires grow larger and more influential.
- Some co-workers or fellow students cheat and dishonestly work and are rewarded.
- Some of preachers of false Gospels have the biggest churches in our country.
We think, “Why? Why can’t I have a little prosperity? What can’t I have some of that? Why do we hear so many stories of Christians being persecuted and hurt and others who hate God and love evil seem to prosper and succeed?”
These are problematic questions, and they are typical questions for us to ask for 1 of 2 reasons. One is a fleshly reason and the other is a godly reason.
- The fleshly reason – We envy others. Sometimes we want the evil to not prosper because it means we are not prospering, and we want to prosper.
- The godly reason – We want justice. We don’t want evil to continue any longer than it already has, and we know God doesn’t want that either. S
Whatever the case may be, it is natural to ask, “Why do good things happen to bad people?”
Good and bad things will happen to bad and good people because God shows His grace to all men (Psalm 145:9). Good and bad things will happen to bad and good people because God we live in a broken, cursed world (Genesis 3).
For the Christian, when we observe wicked people prospering, here is a suggestion: don’t weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). The more wickedness in the world, the more we ought to be compassionate and good. Be a Joseph; when your people treat you with evil, treat them good.
Also, a helpful antidote to asking the question about the wicked prospering (especially when you want some of that prosperity) is to minister to others. It gets the attention off yourself. If we do good, we won’t have any time to be so concerned about other’s prosperity!