Are the innocent punished for others’ sins?
The Bible is painfully honest in its depiction of the horror and consequence of sin. It treats both disease and death as universal results of evil. Some infants with AIDS or young victims of drive-by shootings suffer for the sins of others, through no fault of their own. In facing these realities we must remember:
(1) Death is not always an act of judgment, nor will it always be a reality for God’s people.
(2) The loss and pain felt by others may be God’s instrument to turn their hearts toward him. Sorrow can awaken spiritual insight or cause spiritual growth. This is what seems to have happened to David. His experience refined him and helped him continue more diligently as a man after God’s own heart.
(3) Once we have been forgiven, it is unnecessary self-torture to continue feeling guilty about what our sins have done to others. We should be grateful for forgiveness and seek to minimize the effects of our sin.