“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Prov. 23:17-18).
It is sometimes tempting to think that sinners are having all the fun. They do whatever they want, watch whatever they want, say whatever they want, and look, they aren’t dead, they seem to doing well, succeeding in life, and having fun. And meanwhile, being a Christian means not doing a bunch of things I really want to do, and apparently not having any fun at the same time. And so we are tempted to envy sinners.
But there are two really good answers to this apparent temptation. First, they aren’t really having that much fun. Abortion, pornography, abuse, adultery, divorce, estrangement from children, bitterness, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, rage, murder – they aren’t really having fun. Oh, sure, it’s fun for about 10 minutes, like the feeling that you’re flying in the middle of a free fall. But they’re not really flying; they’re falling, falling fast.
And this leads to the second answer, which is that it’s foolish to judge by this life only. There is a hereafter. There is a judgement because there is a God. Doing whatever you want and expecting to find joy is like rummaging around in a trash can and expecting to find dinner.
Joy is finding goodness and taking pleasure in it. But this presupposes that goodness actually exists in the world, that some things are good and somethings are, well, bad. Otherwise, there’s no such thing as joy. But if there is such a thing as joy and therefore such a thing as goodness, then there is a Source of goodness, Standard, a Judge over all, and in the end there will be a reckoning.
Those who pursue real joy, real goodness in this world, under the blessing of the source of all Goodness – their hope will not be cut off. But those who insist on decorating prison cells and calling that freedom and fun, they will also get exactly what they asked for.
Never forget: the Bible does not teach that God is the great Grinch in the Sky, fuming about people trying to have fun. No, that’s the devil, only he knows he has to sell his despair in bottles labeled fun. But God is the One who invented this place. He loaded it with good things and created us to enjoy it all. At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.