Why do “Jerks” Prosper?

While speaking in Moscow, an attendee to my seminar asked: “If integrity in business is so important, then why does the Mafia get rich while moral people are hungry and homeless?” My reply was, “It’s none of your business. You can’t control them and nor are they accountable to you. Becoming obsessed with their lives and success drains your personal power and passion. Do what you know is right and trust God to keep score, to even the score and to help you score.”

In How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK, I address this issue by referring to Proverbs 20:22: The blessing of the Lord makes one rich and He adds no sorrow to it.

This verse indicates that, without the Lord’s blessing behind one’s riches, you may have money but seriously lack in other key areas of your life: physical health, personal emptiness, no friends, immense insecurity, dysfunctional family life, emotional disorders, losing all you’ve gained dishonestly and the like. This is not to say that the morally rich don’t also suffer setbacks, but that inordinate amounts of sorrows are given to the morally bankrupt that prosper. This is why Psalms 16:4 states: Their sorrows will be multiplied who hasten after another god. Biblically, another “god” can be money, fame, position or other pleasures that consume more of your affection than God.

There are plenty of folks in the entertainment industry, sports, politics and business that seem to defy these scriptural admonitions as they flaunt their immoral lifestyle, all the while racking up record riches and fame. If you watched the latest version of the American Music Awards, you witnessed some of this behavior during prime time television as American Idol runner up Adam Lambert got “carried away” (his own words) during a raunchy performance that included his thrusting the head of a dancer into his crotch to simulate oral sex, a same-sex kiss, dancers on leather leashes, and Lambert extending his middle finger to the stunned audience at the conclusion of a performance witnessed by millions of families—children included—across the country, 1500 of which contacted ABC to complain..

What were the consequences for this epitome of poor taste? While his appearance on Good Morning America was canceled, his vulgarity was rewarded by offers to appear on Letterman and The Early Show. In addition, his new album sales skyrocketed to a tracking rate of 225,000 in its initial week, a hugely successful debut by any standards.

Why is grotesque behavior rewarded with more fame and fortune? It’s none of your business. God will deal with the Adam Lamberts’ of the world. You should pity these people rather than envy or resent them. There is no need for you to waste one moment judging them. God will judge them. Their sorrows will be many and multiplied, and, according to Proverbs 24:19, their “lamp will be put out”: Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked: For there will be no prospect for the evil man; and the lamp of the wicked will be put out. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the Bible when it says that God’s word never returns void and always proves true. The reckoning may not take place over night, but it will over time; either in this world or the next–probably both. And this fact is just as relevant for Lambert as it is for the mafia boss, as well as the guy in the cubicle next to you that outsells you each month because he lies and cheats. Incidentally, it also applies to you! Live your life on the high road. It’s safer and there’s rarely a traffic jam.