Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
It’s no secret that we live in a wicked and evil world. Life is not always fair to billions of people.
For example: We live in a world where babies and children get kidnapped, raped or murdered. Corruption, abuse and crime rates all over the world continue to rise and many victims die without ever experiencing justice here on earth.
We live in a world where millions of people worldwide starve to death every year. Every year, multitudes die from diseases or accidents or war.
We live in a world where earthquakes, cyclones and other forces of nature either cause extreme damage or kill thousands of people every year.
So why do bad things happen to good people? Who is to blame for all the evil in the world? Why do we live in a world where the innocent suffer? Why do people suffer because of the wicked actions of others?
To answer these type of questions, we must understand the following:
1. Every Act of Sin Has Ripple Effects
Sinful acts have ripple effects that we cannot comprehend with our limited minds. For every action, there is a reaction.
The Bible teaches that sin can cause several other events (whether intentional or unintentional) to happen one after the other.
For example, when Adam sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, his disobedience impacted the entire earth itself and it also impacted every human being from birth (Genesis 3:6-19).
Romans 5:12 says: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
Therefore according to Romans 5:12, the sin of Adam had the ripple effect of causing every human being born after Adam to be a sinner. So we are all sinners because we inherited our sinful nature from Adam.
Adam’s sin also caused the problems we have in the world, such as diseases, cyclones, famines and even death.
Therefore bad things happen to good people because sin has ripple effects and sin has the ability to impact everyone – including the innocent.
For example, a sinful act such as adultery can destroy a couple’s marriage & family; the sin of gossip can damage people’s reputations, including the gossiper; sins such as greed and corruption can prevent an entire generation of young people from living a better life; sin such as religious hypocrisy can discourage people from seeking a genuine relationship God; our iniquities can have a negative impact on the next generations to come (Deuteronomy 5:9).
In Joshua 7:1-26 the sin of Achan impacted the whole nation of Israel. Achan’s covetousness caused the death and mourning of many Jewish soldiers. Achan’s sin also had terrible consequences for his own family (who were innocent of the deed) because his family was also put to death.
Therefore because of sin, we are all guilty of doing things that could cause pain and hurt to others. This is the ripple effect of sin.
2. No Person on Earth is Completely Good
Since we are all capable of sinning, then this means that we are all capable of performing acts of wickedness and evil. Some people may be more evil and wicked than others, however we have all committed acts of sin which cause ripple effects. We are all guilty of causing bad things in this world no matter how small or big we think our sins are.
Romans 3:10-12 says: as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Romans 3:23 says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
1 John 1:8 says: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
So none of us can claim to be sinless before God. Because of our sin nature, we have all done something bad to someone who probably didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Whenever we sin, our sins can have both visible and invisible effects on the people around us.
3. Humanity Has An Enemy & Adversary – The Devil
Satan is an enemy to all of mankind. The Bible says that the devil kills, steals and destroys (John 10:10).
The Bible also says that the devil prowls like a roaring lion to seek whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
In the Book of Job, the devil sought to destroy Job’s life even whilst Job was living a faithful and obedient life to God (Job 1:6-22).
Therefore bad things happen because humanity is engaged in a spiritual warfare. The devil seeks to destroy everything that God loves and that God created.
Ephesians 6:12 says: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore the devil is always at work to ensure that bad things happen to all of humanity because the devil is at war against God and all of His creation.
4. God Can Use Bad Things to Teach Us Valuable Lessons
God can use a bad situation to teach and build our character. Sometimes trials of life can make us stronger and wiser if we respond to the challenges of life in the right way.
James 1:2-4 says: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Therefore God allows problems in our life for a good reason, even if we do not understand why we are experiencing bad circumstances. Just like the experiences of Joseph, eventually God will reveal in the future why certain challenges in our life actually worked for our good (Genesis 50:19-21).
Romans 8:28 says: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God Allows GOOD Things to Happen to BAD People
Luke 18:19 says that “… No one is good except God alone”. Therefore God alone is perfect, sinless and good. God cannot commit any evil or act of wickedness. His every action is perfect and righteous.
God is so good that even though we are sinners who deserve eternal punishment in hell, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to atone for the sins of the whole world on the cross (1 John 2:2).
John 3:16-17 Jesus says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus Christ was faultless and sinless – yet He suffered persecution and death caused by the very same people He came to save. Christ came to save sinners just as a physician is tasked to help the sick.
In Matthew 9:12-13 Jesus says: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So inspite of our sins, God still loves us and through His love, grace and mercy, God desires good things to happen to us even though we are sinners.
God offers us salvation from the power of sin as a free gift. God desires to give us eternal life through Jesus Christ as a free gift.
Ephesians 2:8 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 6:23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God is also so good that He will one day bring justice into the world and rid the entire world of sin.
Psalm 37:27-29 says: Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; He will not forsake His saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
Why do bad things happen to good people? It only happened once in history – and Jesus Christ volunteered.