Yes, you read that right. We have often heard the issue addressed (why do bad things happen to good people [and maybe I will tackle that subject soon!]). But perhaps just as fascinating is why good things happen to people who are wicked or evil. Let’s face it, if we were deity (and holy, like God is holy), we would probably have very little patience (or sympathy) for those who do evil things or who treat people (or US) wickedly. They would be on a very short leash – and if they continued, for any reasonable length of time, in their wicked ways, we would have no qualms about erasing them from the face of the earth. After all, the wicked deserve ill-treatment. They don’t deserve good things to happen to them. They don’t deserve to love. Or to have friends. Or to gain wealth, or receive recognition, or to find any kind of reward for their senseless actions.
And if we were deity, we would make certain that good things didn’t come their way. Ever.
But this is not our God’s way. And that may surprise us. After all, if anyone should be able to treat the wicked and evil with contempt it should be a holy and righteous God. Darkness is definitely opposed to light – and light must always prevail. But the consistent portrait of the God of Heaven is that He doesn’t hold the wicked in righteous contempt. Instead, He extends His compassion upon all the undeserving. He is ever-patient with those who are far from Him. Scripture reminds us that God: “…is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) His heart’s desire is to see every soul come under the canopy of His love – even those who openly hate and revile Him.
We witnessed this vivid picture of our compassionate God when He came to this earth and died on a cross FOR US. Think about Jesus, suffering for all mankind upon that torturous cross, while nearly everyone around Him was mocking and ridiculing Him. Scripture says that He could have called for legions of angels to come and rescue Him from that terrible ordeal (Matthew 26:53). BUT He stayed upon that cross for all the sinners (the wicked and evil) who ever lived.
And, oh yeah, that included you and me.
The harsh reality of things is that ALL of us have been wicked and evil in the sight of God. None of us ever deserved His love, or His favor, or the sacrificial death of His Son (if we think we do, we are just deluding ourselves). We ALL deserved to be wiped from the face of the earth. We were ALL unrighteous. Whether we knew it or not, we were ALL God’s enemies!
At least that’s what Scripture clearly tells us.
“There is no one righteous, not even one… All have turned away, there is no one who does good, not even one… But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners (i.e. wicked/evil), Christ died for us. .. while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.” (from Romans 3:8-10; 5:8-10)
God did not give us what we deserve (punishments galore!). And He did not wait for us to become worthy of His love. He did what He did because He was consumed with love for us – even the most wicked and evil of us. “For God so loved the world He gave His One and Only Son…”
So why do the wicked and evil of this world seem to get their way, and get ahead, and get away with all the terrible things they do? Why does any good ever come to them? How could a righteous God ever extend any kind of kindness or goodness toward them?
Jesus told us, “…Your Father in heaven… causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) Simply put, God extends His kindness even to those who are undeserving of His kindness. That’s really hard for us to understand. How could God possibly be that way??
I think it all comes down to an ongoing demonstration of the magnitude of His amazing love. His love reaches out even to the darkest and coldest of us, as a reminder that there is no limit to the extent of His love – that love which is ever extended to each of us! If God can show kindness even to the wicked/evil of this world, how much more kindness will He show to those who have turned their hearts to loving Him.
We must keep in mind that God does not delight in wickedness, nor does He ignore it – and there will come a day when all the wicked and evil will answer for their terrible deeds. On that day every unrepentant sinner will face the Judge and Jury of One. On that day there will be no more patience or mercy, there will only be wrath and punishment. On that day those who deserve to be condemned, will be condemned.
And the real issue on that day will be what each of us has done with God’s Own Son. A loving, compassionate God made a way for each of us to escape His judgment – and the truly wicked and evil will choose to ignore that way – and that Person.
I don’t think we can ever fully understand why good things happen to bad people – but if we will take the time to see the infinite kindness of God, we may just learn to seek out His kindness for our every day lives. All of us are the objects of His immeasurable love (whether we are good or bad). After all, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4)
All this should help us in how we see the wicked and evil around us (and there are plenty!). The easy thing to do would be to hate and wish (pray!?) wrath and misfortune upon them. But that is not the heart of God (and IF we are truly going to be His, we need to represent His heart!). The Psalmist described the heart of God this way: “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15) The lesson we must learn is that this is God’s heart toward every person – good or bad.
One of the most notable things Jesus said was in reference to those who treat us with wicked or evil intent: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Why?? “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” (Matthew 5:44-45) In other words, so WE can act like He has acted towards us (as all His children should do!).
The heart of God is this… “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11) Our thoughts and our prayers for all those around us should be centered in the loving compassion of God.
Those of us who have tasted of the patient compassion of God, towards us, should be quick to remember that only by God’s grace are we His today – and should expend our energies to be a part of the “good” that happens to bad people.
We owe that to Him!