Sometimes it just seems like life isn't fair.
"Crime Pays." So it said on the front page of our local newspaper today. The story: A woman embezzles $37,000. The judge sentences her to repay $3,000 and to remain grounded in her home for two months.
Wherever one turns one hears similar stories. Crime victims who have no rights. Criminals who seem to suffer no consequences for their crimes. Where is the justice in all this?
But then, this is nothing new. 3,000 years ago the writer of Psalm 73 had been struck by the same observation. As he looked on the prosperity of the wicked, their apparent success, their disregard for God or truth, and their mockery of heavenly things, he felt the same grief and dismay that we feel today. However, he did a unique thing. Rather than become embittered as he was tempted to be, he laid his complaint on God's doorstep and waited for an explanation.
Had he been foolish to try to live a good life? No. There are rewards for those who seek to do what is right. And things aren't what they appear to be for those who choose to hurt others, to cheat, lie or steal. Their choices will have consequences, too, both in this life and in the world to come.
I was once involved in a prison ministry. Many of these men saw clearly the illusory nature of the "high life" they had purchased with phony credit cards or other kinds of vice and crime. The worst of it, one man told me, is that the longer you are in it, the more difficult it becomes to get out.
Often, the lifestyles we are attracted to have been bought with a price. We would do well to note the rest of the story.
Things are not always what they first appear to be.