Does Bernie Madoff Deserve Hell?

March 17, 2009

He has become the embodiment of all that is evil.  His image has become the latest “2 minute hate” for all who are loosing money in the stock market.  He is Bernard Madoff.bernard-madoff

There is no doubt about it, Bernie Madoff is guilty, he admits it, and he deserves to go to prison.  He knew what he was doing was wrong and he did it anyway.  He lied to his clients, his family, his friends, and to those who loved him and to those whom he loved.  He’s a liar and a cheat.  He’s a sinner and deserves to go to hell.

With all of that said, please allow me to point out some lessons that we can all take from the Madoff scandal and some, antithetical view points.

The Big Fish Story

This scandal is the atypical story of how a little white lie can grow into a white whale.  I’m sure that when he was in college preparing for his career that he didn’t set out to lie, steal, and cheat his way to riches, and then to prison.  It probably started out as a “one time thing” to earn a little extra money, “just this one time.”  He got away with it once, no one got hurt, and thus he knew how to get away with it time and time again.  Before he knew what happened he had a raging river of deceit on his hands that he could not turn back.

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick

Not only was he getting away with it, but he was being richly rewarded for it as well.  He became the investment guru for many stars and they loved him as they thought they were making them money “hand over fist.”  The pressure that he was under must have been great.  In retrospect it is a wonder that he didn’t die from a heart attack before he was caught.

This is what he said in court, “When I began the Ponzi scheme I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme, however, this proved difficult and ultimately impossible…As the years went by, I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come.  I am painfully aware that I have deeply hurt many, many people, including the members of my family, my closest friends, business associates and thousands of clients who gave me their money…I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for what I have done.”

You see that is how Satan works.  He gets you to accept little compromises along the way and before you know it you have compromised everything that you once stood for and believed in.

In Luke 12:3: Jesus says, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in the darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

Is anyone else responsible?

As I have been following this story I have not heard anyone name any other responsible parties.  I would like to take the time now and name some other parties that are also responsible for Madoff’s clients loosing their money.

1.         Madoff’s Clients

Aren’t adult people responsible for their own money?  Shouldn’t  they bare some responsibility in knowing where their money was invested and to get some type of proof?  From what I have read, Bernie would at times hand write an amount on a piece of paper and the clients would accept what he wrote as the gospel.  Now that’s faith!  I have also read that some of the clients have said that they have lost everything, their entire life savings.  Have they never heard that you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket?  Lets be honest, they were greedy.  They thought that they had an inside to making big returns on their money because of their stature in their community.  Yes they were victims, but they allowed themselves to be victimized.

2. The Governmentsocial_security

Social Security is a very large Ponzi scheme, nothing more or less.  He probably justified his actions in his own mind by looking at the social security.

3. Wall Street

Investing in the stock market is risky.  You can loose all of your money.  Everyone knows this, yet most people continue to invest their money into the stock market.  When you knowingly put your money into a vehicle where you can loose it all, this is called gambling.  We can give it proper sounding names like mutual fund, but no mater how you slice it, it is gambling. Wall Street facilitates this type of gambling.  It is driven by fear and greed.  The same emotional states of mind that drive the casinos in Las Vegas

Bernard Madoff is a criminal and will probably spend the rest of his life in jail, and deservingly so.  He sinned against his family, his friends, and against God.  You know, when I think about it, so have I, and so have you.  We have all sinned against our family, friends and against God.  We all deserve to go to hell.

“For we have all sinned, and come sort of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Salvation and forgiveness is available to us all through Jesus Christ, even to public enemy number one, Bernard Madoff.