ONE: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
TWO: Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?
Both questions presuppose the existence of “good people” and need “goodness” to be a mitigating factor in whether bad things should happen to anyone or not.
Both questions are flawed and attempting to answer them with human reasoning accomplishes at least four results:
1-Distorts the nature of God
Let’s look at Psalm 73 to view the difference between man’s rationale and God’s wisdom.
MAN COMPARES HIMSELF TO MAN AND NOT TO GOD AS REVEALED IN HIS WORD
“But I almost stumbled and fell, because it made me jealous to see proud and evil people and to watch them prosper.
4 They never have to suffer, they stay healthy, and they don’t have troubles like everyone else.
6 Their pride is like a necklace, and they commit sin more often than they dress themselves.
7 Their eyes poke out with fat, and their minds are flooded with foolish thoughts.
8 They sneer and say cruel things, and because of their pride, they make violent threats.
9 They dare to speak against God and to order others around.”
WHEN I COMPARE MYSELF WITH ANOTHER HUMAN
When I compare myself with you, I have created abuse for both of us. Every complaint I have against the “bad” person is really an acknowledgement that I too am aware and guilty of the same said sins. In other words, I have “been there—done that.”
When I compare myself with you, I fail to know the truth about your sufferings and pretend that “You aren’t having troubles like everyone else.”
When I compare my sin with your sin, you must be guilty of more than me.
When I compare myself with you, I necessarily raise myself above you to escape my own prophetic words and accusations.
WHEN I COMPARE MYSELF WITH GOD
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I had a vision of the LORD. He was on his throne high above, and his robe filled the temple. Flaming creatures with six wings each were flying over him. They covered their faces with two of their wings and their bodies with two more. They used the other two wings for flying, as they shouted,
“Holy, holy, holy, LORD All-Powerful!
The earth is filled with your glory.”
As they shouted, the doorposts of the temple shook, and the temple was filled with smoke.
Then I cried out, “I’m doomed! Everything I say is sinful, and so are the words of everyone around me.
Yet I have seen the King, the LORD All-Powerful.”
One of the flaming creatures flew over to me with a burning coal that it had taken from the altar with a pair of metal tongs. It touched my lips with the hot coal and said, “This has touched your lips. Your sins are forgiven, and you are no longer guilty.” Isaiah 6:1-7
When I compare myself with God, the searchlight I used to investigate, accuse and judge the lost is now spotlighting me. I now see my sin as being the one I must concern myself with, not the man who ignores, rebuffs, sneers or insults God one way or another. God is a “big boy” and can fend for Himself. He sought me long before I sought Him, and His forgiveness awaits me and any who confess. God is Holy—I am Sinful. This will be true until I pass from this life into His eternity.
2-Denies the existence of evil as a universal infection, one sin—guilty of all
“If you obey every law except one, you are still guilty of breaking them all. The same God who told us to be faithful in marriage also told us not to murder. So even if you are faithful in marriage, but murder someone, you still have broken God’s Law.” James 2:10-11
THERE ARE NONE RIGHTEOUS—NO NOT ONE! Not Jew or Gentile
What does all this mean? Does it mean that we Jews are better off than the Gentiles?
No, it doesn’t! Jews, as well as Gentiles, are ruled by sin, just as I have said. The Scriptures tell us, “No one is acceptable to God!
11 Not one of them understands or even searches for God.
12 They have all turned away and are worthless.
There isn’t one person who does right.
13 Their words are like an open pit, and their tongues are good only for telling lies. Each word is as deadly as the fangs of a snake, and they say nothing but bitter curses.
15 These people quickly become violent.
16 Wherever they go, they leave ruin and destruction.
17 They don’t know how to live in peace.
18 They don’t even fear God.”
HOW WE ALL BECAME SINNERS WHO MUST DIE AND OUR HOPE TO BECOME SAINTS. CHRISTIANS HAVE A “USED TO BE” STATUS
“Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die.
Sin was in the world before the Law came. But no record of sin was kept, because there was no Law.
Yet death still had power over all who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses.
This happened, though not everyone disobeyed a direct command from God, as Adam did.
In some ways Adam is like Christ who came later. But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adam’s sin. That one sin brought death to many others. Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God’s gift of kindness to many people.” Romans 5:12-15
“We used to be stupid, disobedient, and foolish, as well as slaves of all sorts of desires and pleasures. We were evil and jealous. Everyone hated us, and we hated everyone. God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is. He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done.” Titus 3:3-5
3-Promotes a Works-Based justification and salvation
“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
The rain falls on the just and the unjust, not because they are just or unjust, rather because God intends it to be.
Because God is both just and good, those who know and follow His Son must brandish the very same qualities and character of identification. The moment I claim this inherited personal goodness as having been sourced from myself and not God, I establish myself as a god. I can become my own fruitless savior by “being good”.
“As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up and knelt before Him. “Good Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.”
Jesus himself was not willing to be defined as “good” by this man’s wishful definition. The inquisitive young man had simplicity and quick fix on his mind. He had worked hard to be righteous all his life, attempting to obey all the laws in order to obtain eternal life. He, like most people, will prefer to work for his reward than humble himself and follow Jesus Christ as the sole means of justification and eternal life.
This truth is further spelled out by the Apostle Paul.
“Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him.” Romans 4:4-5
4-Fails to see God as just and to know how He executes recompense
A serious study of the life and times of JOB.
A review of the ups and downs of the Psalmists
A sit-down with the prophets like Jonah
All these people who sought to follow God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength knew at least this:
BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE SEEKING TO DO GOOD AND
GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE SEEKING TO DO BAD
BUT THERE ARE NO GOOD PEOPLE APART FROM A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IN CHRIST. EVEN THEN, IT IS HIS GOODNESS, NOT OURS.
When God sent His Son to die for sinful mankind, He did so with strong messages.
–IN THIS FALLEN WORLD, BAD HAPPENS AND IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE
–YOU ARE NOT GOOD and if you were, bad things would still happen
–OUTSIDE OF CHRIST, YOU ARE BAD and yet good things will happen to and for you
“You surely don’t think much of God’s wonderful goodness or of his patience and willingness to put up with you. Don’t you know that the reason God is good to you is because he wants you to turn to him?” Romans 2:4
–THE LAW WILL NOT SAVE YOU because you did some good things along the way
–YOUR GOOD DEEDS WILL NOT IMPRESS ME
“We are unfit to worship you; each of our good deeds is merely a filthy rag. We dry up like leaves; our sins are storm winds sweeping us away.” Isaiah 64:6
–WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH MY SON WHO I OFFER AS A FREE GIFT THAT MAY NOT BE EARNED?
BEFORE CHRIST: Not only were we not good, we were dead.
“You were dead because you were sinful and were not God’s people. But God let Christ make you alive, when He forgave all our sins.” Colossians 2:13
CONCLUSION AND SYNOPSIS
WE are universally sinful and stubborn, prone to sin. “We are ruined by our own stupidity, though we blame the Lord.” Proverbs 19:3
By abandoning the notion that there are “good” people, we neutralize the fallacy that bad things necessarily mean anything more than life and living. Potential is that comparisons, elevations and superiorities may lessen.
By acknowledging that people who often do good things just as often may do bad things, we weaken the notion that anyone might rise in spiritual superiority over another. We are all sinful and in need of undeserved grace from God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ” Ephesians 2:8
By distinguishing how humans and God define good and bad differently, we may relieve ourselves from condemning God to our world of error.
By owning the truth that human sinfulness is universal, we understand the presence of laws, courts and justice. Bad things must often happen to people who do bad things in order to preserve social order and decency. Also, because God is both good and loving by nature, good then must be rewarded. Good must follow those who seek to honor God by allowing His Spirit and His Son residence within.
By receiving and loving the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, –by His presence in our lives–we begin a journey in which we as sinful, selfish human beings may actually do more good things than bad. Perhaps the most significant result of which is that we give credit where credit is due. Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father (not yourself) which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
THERE ARE NO GOOD PEOPLE APART FROM A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IN CHRIST. EVEN THEN, IT IS HIS GOODNESS, NOT OURS.
As Christians, we must Share in the Sufferings of Christ. Let this be as a Christian, not as an evil doer.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin [l]with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” I Peter 4:12-19