Does God Punish Bad People? Am I Being Punished? Is it God or the Devil?
You’ve been wronged. You suffer because of something that someone has done to you. Whether it provoked sadness, anger, a feeling of betrayal or despair, you are only human to have these emotions. It happens to all of us; some more often than others. It sometimes begs the question, “Does God really punish ?”
I’m reminded to recall a couple of scriptures :
Romans 12:19: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Ephesians 4:26-27, 30-32:
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
When someone deals harshly with us, we must try to keep these words in mind.
What About Christians Who Deceive, Lie, and Hurt Others?
Recently, a self proclaimed Christian couple that I was working with began treating me very badly. This caused me to develop a lack of trust and respect for them. I did my job with my best foot forward, minimizing contact whenever necessary, to completion. Afterwards, they called kicking and screaming with a complaint which should have not pertained to me. They were manipulative, untruthful, cunning, and vicious people who fed off one another. Their antics bit them in the end; very, very hard. After being a victim of their brutal verbal attack, I felt defeated, angry, hurt, and blindsided.
Feeling almost numb, I kneeled to the floor and barely choked out the words, “Lord forgive me for anything I may have done wrong to deserve this… And forgive them for treating me this way. God… Am I being punished for something? Or is this… already… the beginning of a punishment you have in store for them?” I stopped a second and realized something. The problem they were having was something that was going to cost them money. They were trying to manipulate me into paying for it, as if it were my fault; insinuating an oversight on the job I’d done. I was sure I wasn’t guilty of anything by the time I really thought about their complaint. Yet in the midst of their berating and abusing me, their problem had gotten much worse and intensified.
After my few words of prayer, I stood up and walked away, in a state of what felt like grief. Never had someone treated me like this in my job, although one came close. Was this God punishing them? Or was God punishing me?
Or was it Satan’s attack against me, like the story of Job?
Is this God’s Punishment, or the Devil’s Tricks?
On another occasion, I chose again not to speak out after someone wronged me terribly. I felt scorned.
“Why do people treat me like this? I’ve been so nice to him, and he gets drunk and turns into the devil,” I remember thinking.
This person whom I’d known for nearly 20 years, had gotten verbally aggressive with me one night for the last time. I cut him short, and didn’t tolerate it. He became even more abusive, and I began arguing back, reminding him of all the nasty things he had said to me over time during his drunken fits of rage. He berated me and was very abusive. His words were evil and sadistic. He was someone I had heard wish his own mother and father dead. He was Satan walking on earth, I was sure of it. I had said things I’d always wanted to say to him, including how sick he really was.
I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my anger and disgust toward the man, whom I’d known for so long, and who had even done nice things for me in the past. It was extremely hard to pray. I felt I was under demonic attack and the words of prayer just didn’t seem to flow. To the Lord, I said, “Please forgive me, and understand that I cannot find mercy or forgiveness in my heart for his wickedness. Please help me forgive. I don’t know how to right now. God, punish him if you must. Punish me if you must. Forgive me. He is the devil. May Your will be done.”
Within one week, I received a message from him. His beloved cat of many years passed away suddenly. I offered my sincere condolences. In truly felt sorry for him. I know how I’d feel if I lost my pet.
I immediately thought, “Was this God?”
I haven’t spoken to him since.
Two or three more times within the next few months, similar situations happened, where I felt severely wronged. Each time, I heard of something very bad happening to the person right afterward. I kept it to myself.
I never thanked God for punishing them, because I do not propose to know if such a thing was God in action, or the devil poking at me. In the book of Job, Satan challenged God that he could inflict something so bad on Job that it would cause Job to curse God. Job never did. God knew he wouldn’t, because He had already chosen Job as a man of faith.
What To Do When You’re a Victim?
What should you do when you’re a victim? That depends. Firstly, if you’re in a physically abusive relationship, you must get out. You are not doing your walk with Christ any good if you stay in the presence of evil, and you could be seriously hurt. Remove yourself, and ask the Lord to pave the way swiftly for you to get out. Ask for extra wisdom and the strength you need to get through.
However, if you’re in a situation that you can’t remove yourself from, such as work, it may be suitable for you to practice a new habit of staying silent. Walk away. Choose not to allow the sun to go down on your wrath. Study the Word of God and get busy getting further from the evil, and getting closer to Christ.
With all of your focus, hit your knees and request humble forgiveness if you’ve done anything that is considered unholy or wrong in the Lord’s eyes. Know that you are talking to the Most Supreme and He knows your heart. Ask for the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:18-26) to shine forth in you. Give yourself time to be upset, which is only normal. Be mindful if you are being provoked to lose your temper. You have a different choice to develop your composure and keep control. Knee jerk angry responses may be a habit when you’re hurt or feeling betrayed. Pray that God will give you the strength and the wisdom to stay calm and walk away upon the first trigger. This may also help your health if you’re experiencing anxiety issues.
Does God Punish?
God can punish, and He does punish. However, we don’t have the knowledge [of the Almighty] that gives us the right to assume whether God is, or is not punishing someone for something they’ve done to us. We are told that He will serve justice on those who hurt His sheep, but we are not to question it, lest we develop a wrongful sense of what is God’s own judgement. (Again, read Job).
Tips to begin to heal:
- Continue when it’s the hardest, to pray for strength, forgiveness if you’ve sinned in anger (such as losing your temper and acting unChristian) and mercy.
- Ask Jesus to teach you through your adversity how to refine your nature and become more holy before/when such situations arise. Though they can be extremely hurtful, the damage that is done to us is but a drop in the bucket compared to the damage that the Lord can inflict in someone else’s life if they are under Divine discipline.
- Ask Christ to give you the strength to learn to forgive, even when it hurts the most. Truly, forgive, remembering how Jesus forgives us daily. Let this not mean though, that you must tolerate abuse, which can significantly hurt your spiritual growth. Know when to walk away to avoid being unequally yoked.
- Thank the Lord that He is teaching you and molding you into a better Christian.
- Be full of good faith, knowing that Christ your Lord is beside you, and His Will shall be done.
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