It’s been a while, which I apologize for. Life has been busy and has thrown things at me that have required some prioritizing and straightening out. Hopefully I will be able to get back into a consistent writing routine again.
In my last post, I had opened it up for questions to be asked. One of the questions that was mentioned is the age old question that I hear a lot from those who question Christianity and the truth behind a loving God. The question is this:
If God is so loving, why do bad things happen to good people?
I have been pondering this question off and on, and it is a question that was brought up in a conversation I had with someone a while back. At the time, I didn’t really know how to respond. Now, after much contemplation and seeking, I feel like I have enough of an understanding to provide a response to this.
Let’s start with the ground work of the question. What is a good person? And does such a person even exist? Jesus gives a very clear answer to this question. In Luke 18, Jesus is called “Good Teacher” by a religious leader. In response, Jesus had this to say: “‘Why do you call Me good?’ Jesus asked him. ‘Only God is truly good.'” (Luke 18:19 NLT). Seems simple, right? But now that raises the question, WHY is no one good?
To understand this question, we have to understand the nature of all of mankind. Because of sin being in the world, all humans are born evil. This means that our sinful nature, our fleshly nature, is the main driving force in our lives. We are creatures that are more given to evil than we are to good. Not a single person is exempt from this. It is only when we come to faith in Jesus Christ that we are changed from our sinful selves into children of righteousness, and still then we are in a constant battle with the sinful nature that held us captive prior to faith.
This is where things start to get a little messy. In the world we live in, bad things happen to everyone regardless of if they are in the Faith or not. A lot of people really struggle with this reality when thinking about God being loving. Part of this is due to a lack of understanding regarding God’s character. Yes, God is absolutely a loving, gracious, and merciful God. BUT, He is also a just and righteous God.
Remember, God created all humans with the freewill to make their own decisions, regardless of if they are good or bad. He doesn’t control us like we’re nothing more than puppets. Think back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. They were perfect. Without sin. Not knowing evil. What they did know was temptation (which is NOT sin), and they chose to give into that temptation. God warned what the consequences would be for this, and this resulted in both death and sin entering the world. This is God’s justness at work. At the same time, this is also an example of His mercy. He allowed Adam and Eve to live, letting them populate the earth. However, they would eventually find themselves face to face with death, like all of us do.
Because of their one decision, all mankind reaps the consequences of their actions. Which gets us to probably the most important point in this whole conversation: Our decisions bear consequences, whether good or bad, that effect those around us, whether good or bad.
The concept of loving your neighbor really comes into play here. If we were to truly take a step back and love our neighbor as ourselves, we would realize this goes way beyond how we treat people. Yes, that is an important aspect of that concept, but just as important are our actions that may not seem like they effect people.
Things that seem to only effect the individual involved, like suicide, drugs, pornography, alcohol, _______ (fill in the blank). All of these things have a direct effect on the individual involved, and also an indirect effect on those around them. And because God is both a loving and a just God, He allows the consequences of people’s decisions to play out.
I understand that this is a hard truth for many to grasp, but that does not make it any less of a truth at the end of the day. Take it from someone who has been on the side of the indirect effects of someone else’s decisions. It’s not an easy thing to go through by any means, but at the end of the day, if we trust God through the process, it builds us up in the Lord and He builds up our character.
I am sure that there is more I could say in regards to this conversation, but I feel that this is the basic groundwork for gaining understanding into this question. And something to always keep in mind with this is that there is always hope in every situation you get caught up in. As Paul tells us in Romans, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT). We just might have to go through the refining of the fire in order to get there.
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments. And if you have anything you would like to see me possibly write about in the future, leave it in the comments as well.