Posts Tagged ‘fallen world’

Bad things happen to good people?

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

That is a question everyone has asked at some point in their life. Some would say that God gives us the choice to follow Him or bad’ things happen. Others say ‘bad’ happens because we live in a fallen world. Both of those views have truth to them, yet I wonder if the problem isn’t that God allows ‘bad’ things to happen to ‘good’ people, but we have twisted view of ourselves and a false one of God. I present the idea that we are not ‘good’ people and therefore, ‘bad’ things will be part of our life experience.

“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).

Look at the list of sins that humanity embraces. These sins are first, completely contrary to God’s commandments, Second, they are now being accepted and legalized in our ever-increasing God-less culture. Each of these sins has ‘bad’ consequences from sickness to addiction to death. We cannot blame God for the ‘bad’ things that happen to us when we’re not evening trying to live ‘good.’ Even Sha’ul says that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God meaning they will also die eternally.

“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).

The definition of ‘good’ is something that is desired. If I have a ‘good’ life, it includes all that I desire. A ‘bad’ life would include those things I do not desire. How would one use the definition of ‘good’ to define a person?

Yeshua was called ‘good’ by a man who wanted to follow him and he deferred the idea of ‘good’ to God alone. No one is ‘good’ except God according to His Son. No one is good. No one. Not me, not you, not even Yeshua. No one but God is good.

This ‘not good man’ never sinned against God. He never thought about or did ‘bad’ or immoral things. This is why those who saw him, heard him teach, and wanted to follow him called him ‘good.’ And this ‘good’ man experienced more horrific things than any ‘good’ person should. He had no place to rest his head – he was homeless. He had leaders in the Temple judge him. He walked around the Galilee in nothing but sandals on hot soil and became dirty. A close friend died and he grieved deeply. He became exhausted by the crowds who needed him for food; and felt the loss of power when he healed. He was betrayed by a close follower. He was denied by a personal friend. He was beaten, bruised, spit on, mocked, crushed, nailed to a cross and killed. And, we ask why ‘bad things happen to good’ people!

“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).

Perhaps the underlying problem is that we focus too much on ourselves and our circumstances rather than putting our faith God who is ‘good.’ Yeshua never blamed God for his trials.  Sha’ul experienced many trials and he remained content. He didn’t blame God for the ‘bad’ because he knew his own ‘badness’ and found his peace in Yeshua (Philippians 4:10-12).

Thinking of ourselves more highly than we should brings a false sense of identity.  Redefining ‘good’ according to our standards, God becomes vicious and we become victims of some ‘divinely’ thwarted plan.   This is what turns many, like that pastor, away from God. They blame Him for the ‘bad’ in their so-called ‘goodness’ rather than understanding He has a plan that uses ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ It’s a matter of perspective.

“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).

When we focus on God and His goodness, another view comes into focus. Yeshua becomes the way for us to overcome the ‘bad’. He will walk with us through the ‘bad.’ He will help us accept ‘bad.’ He will show us the ‘good’ in the ‘bad’ by redirecting us to the ‘goodness’ of God in everything. Once our skewed vision of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ is corrected, we will quickly see that God’s favor comes to ‘bad’ people who accept His purpose for everything that happens in their lives. When we begin to receive His blessings, it is then we should ask, “Why does God allow ‘good’ things to happen to ‘bad’ people?

Psalm 136: 1-4, 23-26

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. To Him who alone does great wonders …. Who remembered us in our low estate, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, And has rescued us from our adversaries, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; Who gives food to all flesh, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

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