Why do bad things happen to good people?

Have you ever wondered why bad stuff happens to nice guys? Why would one pull a trigger and brutally butcher David Sibeko? Why would anyone subject Steve Biko to torture, resulting in death? 

How can someone in their rational mind think of assassinating The Mahatma Gandhi? This is the man who vehemently fought violence before he became its victim! How can the man who inspired the world and invigorated the hearts of freedom champions the likes of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela die like a criminal?

Who on earth engineered and executed the murder of Martin Luther King? Who in the wildest dreams could think of imprisoning Nelson Mandela?

It vexes my soul to know that one of the most promising Christian thinker Nabeel Qureshi died of cancer.

This list is endless.

Socrates, who was wrongfully accused of corrupting the youth of Athens and made to drink hemlock.

Abraham Lincoln, who fought for the United States’ oneness and the freedoms of the African Americans, but later assassinated.

Saint Lawrence of Rome, who was cooked until he turned black for refusing to renounce Christianity.

Saint Marcus Bishop of Arethusa, who was dragged through the streets, stripped naked, stabbed, then smeared with honey and suspended in a basket in a town square, where the wasps and bees would swarm into the basket and devour him.

In the same vein, why can Kim Jong Il live large while his ‘subjects’ suffer under repression and subjugation? Why would South Sudanese leaders wallow in wealth, luxury and mirth derived from the plunder of national resources while their country is ranked the poorest in the world?

No one is good, except Jesus

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone”. Mark 10:18.

This Scripture settles the question we often ask, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’

In the real sense, we should be asking, ‘Why do good things happen to evil people like myself?’

Jesus’ fundamental lesson is that goodness flows not from men’s deeds, or even their sincere attempt to keep the Law, but rather must have another source – God Himself. In this context, Jesus’ request to the young fellow “follow Me” is the equivalent of doing good by God’s standard. Jesus encourages the youthful ruler to give up his wealth and put God first by following God’s Son. It is possible if one considers this verse in isolation, to understand Jesus as implicitly refusing to accept the title of ‘Good Teacher’ (“Why are you calling ‘me’ good?”). But it is equally possible that Jesus accepts the title, but questions the young ruler’s motives or assumptions regarding the term (” ‘Why’ are you calling me good?”). If we study the immediate context and other verses that speak to the issue of Christ’s goodness, the accurate interpretation of this verse becomes plain. The immediate context, argues that Jesus is not refusing to accept the term. Further, Jesus elsewhere uses “Good” to refer to Himself: “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11).

When we go back to our question above, we make the mistake of believing that by being a Christian that you are exempt from the hard times that come with everyday living, that by being Christians we won’t experience loss or heartache. In reality, a big part of being a Christian is how we choose to deal with life’s curveballs. Do we give up on God or do we allow our setbacks to draw us closer to Him?

“This God—his way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). If God’s ways are “perfect,” then we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect.

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