Why do righteous suffer and wicked flourish? Where is justice?

Judge hammer

In this world we often see that people are not treated fairly. We see righteous suffer and wicked flourish. But why is that? According to the Bible, God gives justice to those who are treated unfairly.

The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

( Psalms 103:6 )

But if God gives justice, then why are we seeing so much injustice around?

Let's look into the past. We supposed to be just to each other, help and spread love to one another. Instead, we did cruel things before God's eyes here, on Earth.

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder. They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the LORD's sight. That is why the LORD's anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession.

( Psalms 106:37-40 )

And even in modern times, we're afraid to look at ourselves honestly. Not just at our actions, but also to objectively evaluate our thoughts and wishes. It's very difficult to accept someone's honest feedback on us. Instead, we prefer sweet lie.

How you hate honest judges! How you despise people who tell the truth!

( Amos 5:10 )

For centuries, we - people - were not judging other people like us, fairly. And our God could not leave that unnoticed. Despite Jerusalem being the city of people who are deeply loved by God, it received the justice like everyone else. We can't keep doing evil things and rely that God will keep forgiving us forever.

"Run up and down every street in Jerusalem," says the LORD. "Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city.

( Jeremiah 5:1 )
Not a king in all the earth-- no one in all the world-- would have believed that an enemy could march through the gates of Jerusalem. Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the sins of her priests, who defiled the city by shedding innocent blood.

( Lamentations 4:12-13 )

Because of our injustice towards others, our hate towards truth, our pride and sin, we separated ourself from God, and we separated ourself from justice. We willingly walk away from a lake with crystal clear water, further and further, get thirsty and cry "Where is water? I do not see it!". Where is God, can't he help?

Listen! The LORD's arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption. No one cares about being fair and honest. The people's lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin. They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders' webs. Whoever falls into their webs will die, and there's danger even in getting near them. Their webs can't be made into clothing, and nothing they do is productive. All their activity is filled with sin, and violence is their trademark. Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them. They don't know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment's peace. So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead. We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us.

( Isaiah 59:1-11 )

Yes, we sinned. And yes, we still sin. We've made our mistakes. Yet we can open our hearts toward God, repent and ask for forgiveness. And when we open our hearts for God, let's close them for sin from now on.

"Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor's security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live. "Your people are saying, 'The Lord isn't doing what's right,' but it is they who are not doing what's right.

( Ezekiel 33:12-17 )

We can be confident that God will hear us. We can be confident that it's never too late to turn away from our sins and get forgiveness, receive God's grace.

The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

( Psalms 103:13 )
I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

( Revelation 3:19 )

And without a doubt, justice will prevail, and everyone will receive what they deserve.

But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."

( Jeremiah 17:10 )

However, why do the truly righteous suffer?

Even if we forget the fact that there is not a single sinless person on Earth, we still need to remember that we can't always understand God's ways. While we may understand what is good and evil, we cannot properly apply that knowledge because we do not see the whole picture.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

( Isaiah 55:9 )

And we will not always understand why the good people we know are troubled with so many sorrows that occurred in their lives. But let's take a look at some examples in the Bible about those who suffered. If you remember the story about Joseph who was raised from a slave to the second most powerful person in Egypt.

Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them-- Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph's character.

( Psalms 105:17-19 )

Joseph went through many trials before receiving the blessing he's been waiting for. And the trials he received were not necessarily the punishment for his sins, but a necessary learning process that made him qualify for the high position he was going to receive.

Jesus himself suffered in his Earthly life, even though he did not sin.

Even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.

( Hebrews 5:8 )

Some of us lost our parents or dear ones. They died despite us praying to God day and night asking to spare their lives. Why doesn't God hear us?

When our dear ones die, we lose connection with them, we can no longer see them, talk to them, see their smiles, receive an encouraging advice. We see their death as the end where nothing we can do... But God can. Not a single person is dead for God. God hears us and our prayers. He wants good for us, but he also wants good for the ones who we lost.

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.

( Isaiah 57:1-2 )

Do you believe you are being faithful to God, and yet life is very hard on you? Like a loving father, our God is teaching and disciplining us, purifies and getting us ready to receive the gift from God.

As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-- it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

( Hebrews 12:7-11 )
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

( 1 Peter 1:6-7 )

We see evildoers having a peaceful life, escaping justice and enjoying many pleasures. Some of them broke our lives and enjoy using others to satisfy their needs. We do not see any judgement applied to them. Yet, we should not think they can escape God's judgement.

They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don't have troubles like other people; they're not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. "What does God know?" they ask. "Does the Most High even know what's happening?"

( Psalms 73:4-11 )
Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

( Psalms 73:18-20 )
Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this: Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

( Psalms 92:6-7 )
Don't fret because of evildoers; don't envy the wicked. For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.

( Proverbs 24:19-20 )

Remember that God is always fair and just. We do not always understand his ways, and sometimes we are quick to judge others. Instead, let's leave the justice to God, yet doing our best to treat everybody around with respect and love.

The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them.

( Psalms 145:18-19 )
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."

( Deuteronomy 31:8 )