July 24, 2013 – Bad things happen to good people?

This morning I listened to a pastor tell why he is atheist.  His journey away from God  began with the question,  ‘Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?’

That is an age-old question. Some would say that God gives us the choice to follow him or not, or we live in a fallen world along with other explanations that I’ve heard through the years.  Yet,  I wonder if the problem isn’t that God allows bad things to happen, but we’re not good people; we have a false view of ourselves and therefore a false one of God.

“Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you” (Psalm 143:2).

“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

“Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? (Proverbs 20:9).

“For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:9-11).

“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” (Psalm 119:36).

Consider the list of ‘sins’ in Galatians and ponder deep inside your heart whether or not you’re a ‘good’ person.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

“As Yeshua started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Yeshua answered. “No one is good—except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

“A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Yeshua answered. “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19).

No one is righteous; no one seeks God.  Yeshua himself could not even be considered ‘good’ unless one was to believe that he was the physical expression of God which opens another issue entirely.  So, who are we to think we are ‘good enough’ for God to allow bad things to happen to us?   Yeshua was ‘good enough’  and he experienced really ‘bad things’ – beaten, crushed, killed.

Perhaps the underlying problem is that our hearts and minds are on ourselves and our circumstances rather than trusting and having faith in God.  Paul experienced many trials, but remained content – not blaming God for the ‘bad things’ because he realized that he was ‘not good’ and  his strength was found in Messiah alone.

“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:10-12).

Thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought brings a false sense of identity.  Redefining goodness according to human standards, God becomes vicious and we become victims of some thwarted plan of His making.  What is needed is a change of heart and a new way of thinking  in our minds about ourselves and our Creator.  Then God will work  ‘all things’ – both good and bad – into a goodness for us rather than badness at us.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).

When you get your focus off of yourself, then you will have a clear identity of who you really are.  You will find that Yeshua is in the center of it all just waiting to show you himself and his strength. He wants to walk with you through the perceived ‘badness’.  Once your faith focus is corrected and you see God as the Redeemer, you will begin to  see that blessings happen to sinful people.  And that should confound and amaze you.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua.  Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).

©2013 jsixrock

Leave a Reply

*