Why Bad & Good Things Happen
Far too many Christians live in guilt and condemnation. “If only I had prayed more. If I was more spiritual, if I had more faith… this would not have happened.” A great number of Christians believe that bad things happen because of one thing… sin. As a result, some Christians judge others when tragedy strikes. “Well, there must have been sin in their life for this to happen!” False religious teachings bring guilt and condemnation, bondage, and finger-pointing judgments. Someone has to be blamed. Sometimes it is God who is blamed for either causing it or allowing it to happen. If not God, then what sin did they commit that brought this on?
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:1-2)
Jesus’ disciples believed, as did most others, that someone had to have sinned if this man was born blind. Either his parents committed some grievous sin and their punishment was having a blind child, or this blind man himself had sinned in a previous life and now he was paying for it.
“Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents…” (John 9:3)
There are many reasons for blindness, none of which the disciples understood, and probably many that we wouldn’t know about. Viral or bacterial infection, hereditary defect, and genetic abnormality are all possibilities. None of these are “sin.” They are a result of sin in the earth brought about by Adam & Eve’s choice in the Garden of Eden.
Because of men and women who allow themselves to be ruled by a sin nature and the presence of God’s enemy, satan, bad things do happen. But before you blame God or the person who is experiencing tragedy, I want to suggest some other possibilities.
4 Men Under A Bridge
Imagine if you will, that there are 4 homeless men living under the shelter of a bridge. They are in the same place, but for different reasons.
The first was an accountant for a large company. He managed to embezzle thousands of dollars before he was caught. He was fired from his job, his wife divorced him and he began to drink heavily. He is now reaping the consequences of his actions. Obviously, he is living under a bridge because of his sin.
The second man was also an accountant. His boss asked him to keep a “second set of books” so he wouldn’t have to pay as much tax. Being a Christian with values, he refused and was fired. Without an income, he couldn’t make his rent payment and was evicted. This man did not commit a sin. He stood up for what was right, and suffered for it. He was persecuted for righteousness.
The third man never held any kind of job for long. He was raised without much of a family. His father was an alcoholic and his mother abused him, telling him he was “no good and would never amount to anything.” Without Christ or any other encouragement in life, he was hopeless and turned to drugs and alcohol because that was all he had ever known. He was there because of the circumstances of inheritance and lack of opportunity. His birth and childhood influenced where he was today.
The fourth man had worked for the same company for 20 years. When the boss retired, his son took over the company. He mismanaged it and squandered all the profits on expensive cars, a large salary and expense accounts. He bankrupted the company and now this man had no job or retirement. Because he was near retirement age, employers were reluctant to hire him even though he searched diligently. Not knowing or understanding the promises of God’s Word, he is living under the bridge because of the decisions of others.
As you can see, bad things happen for many reasons. It is not my intention to explain every tragedy or negative circumstance. I simply want to destroy the myth that every negative thing is a direct result of that person’s sin. In destroying the myth, you destroy guilt and condemnation. Religion is heavily invested in judgement. Jesus was fully committed to setting people free.
Let’s look at another myth. Does God smite people? Is God sitting on His throne waiting for you to slip up so that He can give you what you deserve?
In Deuteronomy chapter 28, Moses lists the blessings and the curses. It is interpreted in the King James in such a way that it leads you to believe that God will curse you. One translation that is more accurate renders, “God will allow you to be smitten…”
What was God’s intent in giving the law? Are the laws that are given simply senseless rules for us to follow or be cursed? NO! The Bible teaches us spiritual principles and natural laws that God has revealed so that we can follow them and be blessed. He revealed them so that we could avoid the curse of violating natural and spiritual laws.
If you violate the laws of gravity and jump off a roof, you will be hurt. As a child, your parents taught you about the law of gravity and told you not to jump off high places. If you jumped anyway and broke your arm, did your parents smite you? Or did the law of gravity?
The law of gravity works whether you know about it or not. God’s laws work also, and He gave us a book that teaches us about them.
Jesus taught about spiritual laws in His sermon on the mount. If you curse those who curse you, you will be cursed. What you speak and do comes back to you. This is a spiritual law. It works whether you believe it or not.
Even though you may have violated spiritual laws and walked out from under the protection of God’s grace, you can reverse your course and walk back into the blessings.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a wonderful promise… “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you… plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
God’s Word through Jeremiah the prophet says that if we will call on Him and seek Him with our whole heart, “I will be found by you…and I will restore your fortunes and free you…” (Jeremiah 29:12-14 AMP)
Now, let’s get those 4 men out from under that bridge because God’s plan for them is for peace, well-being and healing.
- Repentance – If the first man repents of His sin of embezzlement and calls upon God, we have His written Word that we will be restored to fellowship – forgiven! (I John 1:9) Something is required of us also in this situation, and it is not our opinion and judgment. If God has forgiven, we are also required to forgive and judge not. (Forgive him, but don’t put him in charge of finances!)
- Knowledge of God’s Promises – Although he stood for what was right, the second man may not have known the Word or how to believe God for a job or finances to survive when this storm hit his life. Applying yourself to learning and understanding that God wants you to be an overcomer and success in life will give you power over what attempts to defeat you. The Word works! (III John 2)
- Hearing and Receiving the Word – No doubt the third man had received undeserved and unfair circumstances from the time he was born. But, no matter how far down life has taken you, if you will receive the Good News that Jesus is the answer, your life can be turned around. God can take your life with all the baggage and use you to help others.
- Take Hold of the Promises – It is not fair!!! No, it never seems fair or right when other people take actions that impact your life, especially when it is out of your control. Losing your job because of someone else’s incompetence seems particularly grievous. But if you can stay out of strife, forgive and trust the Greater One to give you favor, you can be led to a job that is even better than the one you had!
Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Good things happen when you have faith in God and His Word, and put it first place in your life. The storms of life may come, but you cannot be defeated if you dwell in the secret place of the Most High, build your house upon rock and refuse to be moved by what you see, hear or feel.
The good news is that if the curses have overtaken you, you can start applying the principles of God’s Word and reverse those curses. God is not only able, He is willing to turn tragedy into triumph in your life.
Important Points to Survive a Storm:
Don’t judge or condemn yourself or others
Stay out of strife
Keep your mouth shut unless you are confessing the Word
Trust God and cast your care on Him