Bad Things Happening to Good People.

Many people ask the question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Atheists tend to rephrase it as Why does a good God allow bad things to good people? They do this because they want to attack the goodness of God rather than listen to the answer. In an absolute sense nobody is perfect and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. When the rich young ruler addressed Jesus as “Good teacher” Jesus questioned him as to why he called him good because only God was good. But on this occasion, at least, he refused to acknowledge that Jesus was God. So really we are talking about comparatively good people suffering setbacks. We can console ourselves with the idea that all things work together for good. That is fine when it happens to someone else but when we are going through the mill then we still tend to have a good whinge at God. The book of Job answers many of these questions concerning suffering. However, there still is a tendency agree with Job’s comforters where we assume that there must be some hidden sin for some tragedy to happen to other people. Even when we come to the New Testament and the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” (Luke chapter 10 verses 25-37.) Remember that this parable was told when the same rich young ruler tried to justify his actions. Its victim is depicted as a sinner because he was going away from God’s Temple and downhill to Jericho, obviously indicating moral decline. Job’s comforters would certainly agree with that view. But would have Job himself? The road between Jerusalem and Jericho was used by many people, including Jesus himself who was without sin. This was the route that Galileans used when going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts in great masses. True, the victim was travelling alone but maybe he had attended the Temple worship at one of the festivals and stayed behind to continue to worship. Maybe he was so caught up with worship his attackers could creep up to him unawares. Often we get bushwhacked after a spiritual high point. I can remember many years ago during a period of unemployment that I began to dread going away to special events because I found that on the Monday morning the would be a letter to say that I had failed to get a job I had applied for. More recently I know of a sheep farmer who on returning from a Christian conference found that his sheepdog had been run over. I recently heard David Jeremiah mention during one of his sermons that people were frightened of being too joyful because they were afraid that joy would come to an end with a bump. I can vouch for that. In the Highlands of Scotland you cannot go from one Munro, a mountain over 3000 feet, to another Munro without descending 1000 feet. The parable was told to the rich young ruler who tried to justify himself though we do not know where he was based, he may have confronted Jesus in the Galilee but he might have come from Jerusalem, we do not know. To a Galilean it was natural to return from Jerusalem so they would not associate the misfortune of the victim as being result of sin though somebody based in Jerusalem might of. We are making assumptions here and assumptions can be dangerous. After all travellers on the road would include priests and Levites returning from their spells of duty at the Temple, hardly an example of ‘sinners’. I once read a story concerning Watchman Nee who heard that a severe critic of him had suffered some misfortune. He wrote a letter blaming it on his failings. But before he posted it he ripped it up because he had no peace and wrote another sympathising with him in his troubles instead. Let us not be too hasty to attribute the misfortunes of others to some non-existent imagined sin that we are far more guilty of.
More to the point one has to remember that the only truly “good” man was Jesus and he did not have it easy. He suffered terribly leading up to and during the crucifixion. So who are we to complain when things turn out less than perfect. Bad experiences are painful at the time but we can learn from them. There is the apocryphal story of the little boy who saw a butterfly struggling to emerge from its pupa. He thought it a good thing to cut open the pupa to let it escape. Unfortunately this did not help the butterfly’s wings to develop properly and it was unable to fly. The danger of the pain averse society that we live in, is that there is a part of us that will remain immature mentally and spiritually because we want to live in a pain free cocoon.
David Rose, 2014.

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About davidgrose

I am a Bible believing Christian, brought up in the Brethren Movement, and now find myself associating with charismatics even though I do not always agree with them. I am in full-time employment. I have interests in history and photography amongst others.
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