- A yearly pension of £693,000 for the former boss of a bank which recorded losses last year of £24 billion.
- People investing for years in pension schemes only to see them crash and leave them with nothing.
- Banks pulling in loans on little customers while writing off colossal debts of bigger ones as ‘unrecoverable’.
- Bankers playing games with figures on paper, while mounting massive debts.
- Chairmen and directors creaming off profits while those at the bottom of the chain get ripped off.
- Developers and banks causing the problems, farmers and the man in the street left to shoulder the burden.
- Small businesses crushed out of existence because bigger ones wouldn’t pay what they owed.
- Faithful customers who regularly pay on time footing the bill for those who don’t.
Countless other examples could be given. It seems so unfair. What do we do? Four options are: join in, be indifferent, get angry, or despair.
Nothing much needs to be said about joining in. It’s just wrong.
Indifference is a self-centred response—“Me and mine are ok, so I don’t care about anyone else”. But it all changes suddenly when we find out that we are affected.
Anger is fruitless. We get angry and frustrated because we feel—rightly—that something should be done about it, yet we feel so impotent. Even at a basic level we have very little by way of comeback.
Or we despair, simply because we feel there is nothing we can do. What’s the point of trying to be decent and save, and invest wisely, and be a good consumer? And how are we going to cope with these difficulties? It leads to cynicism and a consuming bitterness that eats away at our souls.
Thankfully there is a fifth option. What does God’s word have to say? Psalm 37 is particularly relevant; here are some of its verses (although I’d encourage you to read it all):
“Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good…
Delight yourself in the Lord
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
The wicked borrow and do not repay…
those the Lord blesses will inherit the land…
For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off.
The songwriter acknowledges that life is unfair, but the day is coming when all will give account—they will only get away with it for so long. God sees, and God takes note.
Instead of anger, he calls us to trust in a God who promises to judge all injustice, especially that which oppresses the poor and the needy (v14). Instead of despair he calls us to trust in a God who will provide for his people. Instead of joining in, he calls us to continue living justly, knowing that the time will come when God will reward our obedience.
But there is little point taking comfort in the fact that God’s justice will catch up with others, for it will also catch up with us—and so we need someone to bail us out, not a bank, but the Son of God.