How do we know that evil people who enjoy all the earthly goods in this life are actually punished harshly in the next life? I will remind you of the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus, which
the Lord Himself narrated to us. There was a certain rich man, says Christ,who was living in
luxury, and delighting in various pleasures.
His table was filled with sumptuous meals every day. Simultaneously, there was a certain beggar
named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid just outside the front door of the rich man’s house.
This poor man was trying to appease his hunger
by eating the crumbs that would fall from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. When the beggar died, the angels
carried him to Abraham’s bosom, where his soul found rest and joy.
When, however, the rich man died,he found himself unexpectedly being tormented in Hades. In this state he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham
afar off and Lazarus next to him. Then he cried
out woefully to the patriarch, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things. Consequently, now
he is comforted and you are tormented” (cf. Lk. 16:19-25). Therefore, let us not be distraught when we witness sinful people enjoying prosperity in this present life; rather, we should rejoice when we suffer. Because the sorrows that we experience are, in fact, paying off the sins we have committed. And when we repay our debt and settle our sins in this life, we secure our salvation.
This is why the divinely-inspired Apostle Paul states, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).
We as Christians, in general, should not seek comforts. Christ promised to give His disciples sorrows: “In the world you will have tribulation” (Jn. 16:33).
“If they persecuted Me, then they will also
persecute you” (Jn. 15:20). Furthermore, the Apostle irrevocably confirms, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”
(2 Tim. 3:12).
St. John Chrysostom