Good People

Quick Answers: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Bottom Line Up Front

The notion of bad things happening to good people is ill-founded, as we fail to recognize or understand the extent of our depravity.

Quick Answer

The physical, moral, and spiritual corruption of humanity has resulted in a compromised worldview that fails to recognize the depravity of man, instead declaring that people are generally good by nature. This declaration results from the superficial examination of external actions and idiosyncratic introspection, based upon morally relativistic criteria, rather than candid comparison with an objective standard—established by the immutable character and nature of God. However, when comparing the moral state of humanity with the holiness and righteousness of God, it becomes evident that all have fallen short (cf. Romans 3:23), failing even to approach categorization as good.1  God explains the basic principles of morality in the Ten Commandments (cf. Exodus 20:3-17), yet members of our secular society rapidly dismiss commands it considers archaic while objecting that they have kept the important commands (e.g., do not commit murder and do not commit adultery). Nevertheless, God does not judge by external actions alone—He examines the heart (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 11:20)—since righteousness is an essential characteristic of His nature, rather than a mere product of His actions or will. Jesus explains that if you hate someone, you have committed murder in your heart (cf. Matthew 5:21-22). Similarly, He further proclaims that if you lust after someone, you have already committed adultery with that person in your heart (cf. Matthew 5:27-28). In this regard, who among the people of the earth could stand before the Righteous Judge (cf. Psalm 7:11; 89:14) and not be condemned for (at the least) murder and adultery?

Although it is a misnomer to assert that good people exist in this world, it is important to recognize why bad things happen, and what God has done to rectify the situation. Evil (both natural and moral) exist in the world because of humanity’s rebellion against God, and our tendency to make immoral decisions, causes repetitious suffering to plague civilization. However, God orchestrated a plan of redemption, reconciling the world to Himself through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus. Observing the rampant evil in the world should produce feelings of repulsion and indignation; but rather than blaming God, we ought to seek reconciliation with Him, while repenting of our sin—the antecedent cause of evil and suffering.

  1. This is why Jesus said, no one is good but God (Mark 10:18); also see Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-18; 3:23; 1 John 1:8). All Scriptural references are from the HCSB, unless stated otherwise.
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