Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?


Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? is a very common question, but it has the wrong presupposition.  That question presupposes that man is right in assuming that he is good, and God is wrong saying that man isn’t good.  That question supposes that man does not deserve what ills are referred to at the time of those statements. 

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? It may pain some you to find out that there are no good people.  Luke 18:19 says, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” (crf). Romans 3:10-12 says, “10 As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” That is a reference to Psalm 14 where God addressed the presupposition of the goodness of man. It says, “The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” Well, we see God’s judgment in the matter “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.As Matthew Henry said, “Whatever good is in any of the children of men, or is done by them, it is not of themselves; it is God’s work in them. When God had made the world he looked upon his own work, and all was very good (Gen. 1:31); but, some time after, he looked upon man’s work, and, behold, all was very bad (Gen. 6:5), every operation.” He also said, “Sin is the disease of mankind, and it appears here to be malignant and epidemic.” Mr. Henry’s assertion is supported by Titus 1:16 which says, “16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” Any time that we doubt the character of God we have demonstrated atheistic behavior. There are no good people; therefore, we must lay aside our claim to deserve good from God.

As if that was not enough, let’s explore Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? through what Jesus says in John 9.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

The disciples believed that a person’s condition was the result of the sin of the person or his/her parents even though the person was blind from birth. That suggests that the disciples understood that sin is present in the nature of man even before man is born.  Jesus had established the corruptible nature of man way back in the Old Testament. Time after time man evidenced that man does not trust God nor wants to follow Him. Here, Jesus is not confirming that declaration of the goodness of man. Jesus is answering the question that all of us have thought at one time or another. Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Let’s remember that some of our hardships or sufferings come as a result of our disobedience. This is not the case in with the blind man in John 9. This account indicates that some of our hardships or sufferings, like those of Job, come as a reason for God to reveal His glory and for our good. We are either made healthier spiritually, i.e. grow in our faith, or we are healed as in this case with the blind man. Either way, the result is the same – for God to be glorified and for man to work to tell the world about the light of the world. In our hardship or suffering, we do not always know God’s specific purpose in it, but we do know that God assures us that His purpose for the hardship or suffering is good (Rom. 8:28).

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? It happens to reveal God’s glory and for our good.  Let me leave you with 2 Corinthians 4

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you…17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Don’t be blind. See the light of the world which is the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ who being God gave Himself so that we can become right with God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

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