Crime and God’s Punishment…

Hello World!!!

After reading a newspaper story yesterday about the sentencing of former Georgia state Rep. Ron Sailor Jr., who was also a pastor, I started thinking about a topic that has often haunted me. Does God punish us when we do wrong, or do we just experience the natural consequences of our actions?

The 33-year-old Sailor was convicted of money laundering and defrauding the church where he once led. He will spend five years and three months in jail for his actions…Um, um, um, I wonder what’s going through his mind this morning. I remember hearing about Sailor when I was in high school. He went to a nearby high school and was talked about as a young man “destined for success.” It probably helped that his father was a prominent TV and radio personality at the time. Ironically, his father is also a pastor as well.

The fact that he was a pastor and his father is a pastor leads me to believe that he was probably raised in the teachings of the Lord.  At some point, however, he obviously decided to put what he learned aside and commit crimes. In this case, Sailor accepted money from who he thought was a drug dealer and promised to launder it. The drug dealer turned out to be an undercover agent. The agent struck a deal with Sailor and asked him to help in a corruption investigation involving other public officials. This deal was supposed to help in reducing Sailor’s prison time at sentencing. However, soon after the deal was made, authorities discovered that Sailor went on to initiate a fraudulent loan and used his church as collateral.  Apparently, he had large personal debts to pay off.

Is this sentencing indicative of God’s punishment as he is a man of God or did he just get what was coming to him. In talking about this subject with my father, he told me to look up two passages in the Bible – Psalm 103: 8-13 and Hebrews 12: 5-6. In the first passage, “the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” In the second passage, we are told not to “make light of the Lord’s discipline…the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”

I have many friends who are on this spiritual path with me, and we often discuss our conception of God. Several of my friends don’t think that God is a punishing God; however, they do feel we reap what we sow. I remember a few years back, I was in the midst of applying for a job that I thought I really wanted at the time. I had already made it successfully through two interviews and was waiting to hear if I had gotten the job. While I was waiting to hear the news, I sinned. (I won’t tell you how. I’m into self-disclosure but this is the Internet.) I asked my father if God was going to punish me for my sin by not rewarding me with the job. He told me that God was not capricious and wasn’t going to zap me just because I did something wrong. Well, I didn’t get job, ha,ha. However, in looking back, the job wouldn’t have been the best (as in good, better, best)fit for me anyway, and God had a better job coming my way.

Anywho, I would like to know what you think about God’s punishment. When we do something wrong or outside of God’s will, should we expect to be punished or is what happens to us just a result of our actions? I am so quick to talk about the rewards of God – His Favor, His Protection, His Wisdom. But everyone knows there is a yin and a yang…

Any thoughts?

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~ by jackieholness on September 17, 2008.

7 Responses to “Crime and God’s Punishment…”

  1. 1 Peter 4:17 NIV
    For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    Part of my daily prayer is that God will expose and remove wicked men and women from the pulpit. He is faithful. Every week we read about a crooked preacher being uncovered. The house of God needs to be cleansed.

  2. Sighs, we went to college together. I was so proud of his success and was crushed when the story first broke. I felt betrayed by him, somehow. Perhaps, because I was so excited that someone I knew from that passionate group of young adults on campus sullied my good feelings and became a bad reflection on the very small group of us that matriculated together and graduated around the same time. Disgusted. I could go on about the disappointment, but why bother?!

    Law of sewing and reaping… We have to tend our own gardens. We have to reap our fruit. Be they good or bad crops, they are ours and we are the ones who have to eat them.

    Punishment? No, just incredibly difficult fruit to digest.

  3. As for the laws of God, look for your rewards not on this earth and likewise look for His punishment not on this earth.

  4. @dkwatts

    Thanks for your comment!

  5. Okay Jackie,

    I’ll give you my small portion. Hands down the word does say the lord disciplines those he loves. I also know that part of discipline involves training. I wont try to say using ( blanket application) that everytime bad things happen it’s God’s punishment for your wrong actions. I do know that for certain actions there is always a built in judgement attached.
    That makes sense when we see God tellin us to stay away from certain things, because he knows the end results.
    If a person reaches their hand towards an open fire (the built in judgement is) you gonna get burnt. Is that burnt hand God personally punishing an individual? Or is it the end result or the reality that exist beyond the horizon line of that action.

  6. Hello Jackie, I read your story bout Ron Sailor, Jr., what a loss. I think with any father, if he loves you, he will punish you for your wrong doings. The same applies with Jesus, since we are His children, He will punish us for our wrong doings.
    Once you start living for Christ and get more in tune to His will and ways, some things you will no longer want to do or engage in for that matter.

  7. @Ki,

    What was Ron Sailor like in college? Did you ever have any idea that he would go down this path? I’m guessing not…

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