Tag Archives: good

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

Last week I wrote a blog answering (in part) why bad things happen to good people.  You can read it here.  Today, I address the flip side of the coin answering why good things happen to bad people.  As before, I see four answers that can be given.

  1. God loves his enemies.  Jesus told the crowds during his sermon on the mount, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven,'” (Matthew 5:43-45a, ESV).  The idea of the “so that you may be sons of your Father,” phrase is not a “do this and you’ll be accepted by God” idea, but a “if you are sons of God, you will imitate Him and love your enemies” idea.   How do I know?  The rest of Matthew 5:45.  “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust,” (ESV).  Living in an agrarian part of the world, sun and rain were important for growing crops.  Jesus’ point is that God has a general grace upon all.  He loves his enemies and sends good things his way, just like all the “good” people. (See last point).
  2. God gives an opportunity for repentance.  Good things happen to bad people because God is giving them an opportunity to see that He is gracious and loving and they are wicked and unworthy.  “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience,” Paul asked, “not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4, ESV).  Remember, at one time we were all “bad” people.  “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8, ESV).  God affords his kindnesses not only to us, but to his enemies at large.
  3. God gives more rope.  The more that God gives his love and kindness, and the more that people reject it, the more rope they are attaining with which they hang themselves. In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph is contemplating rather angrily why the wicked prosper.  He is frustrated, “until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors,” (vv. 17-19, ESV).  As Paul wrote about those who receive God’s kindness, but will not repent, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed,” (Romans 2:5, ESV).
  4. If only good things happened to good people, then no one would receive any good at all.  As indicated last week, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one,” (Romans 3:10-12, ESV).  Unless God brings good things to bad people, no one would ever receive anything good.  We think our lives are bad and that bad guys’ lives look pretty good.  In reality, if God did not grant good in this world, we would long for the worst of our current bad days.

I would definitely recommend reading Psalm 73.  You may identify with Asaph’s feelings and thoughts.  Then pray that you too will come to his conclusion.

Infinity Wars: My Thoughts

*SPOILER ALERT*

I saw Avengers: Infinity Wars last night. At the end of the movie I was speechless. I have never seen a movie like this one. I am still trying to process what all happened in this…this…….thing. Now, let’s get one thing straight: I am a Superman kind of guy, and I only give a nod toward Marvel (though I think Black Panther was the best superhero movie ever made). So, when Superman died in Dawn of Justice I was upset, but at the very end, one could see the dirt on Clark’s coffin rumble, as if to say: it’ll be okay. He will be back. But The Infinity Wars gave no hope. Thanos won. He obliterated the Avengers for all intents and purposes. He got what he wanted: sitting on the porch watching the sunrise. This was simultaneously the worst and greatest movie I’ve seen.

If you keep up with comic books, you may have already known what was going to happen. I don’t, so I didn’t. I kept watching thinking to myself, they’ll never go this far. But they did! So I set the bar further, only to have them cross it. The entire movie I kept waiting to see something go the Avengers’ way, but nothing did. At the end of the movie, I left empty and hopeless.

I know part 2 coming, but it gives no comfort. I’m not saying I’m devastated and can’t get out of bed, but I am saying that I left saying, “this is what happens when the bad guys win.” This is the feeling that an evil victory produces. At least a taste because I know it is just a movie and I can go about my life. I would imagine that those who live in nations that are run by tyrants–evil in all their deeds–could feel this way, and obviously much worse. I can also imagine a little more of what the disciples must have felt on Saturday after the crucifixion. Devastated and hopeless do not adequately describe the mixed emotions with which one is left.

One of the most depressing books in the Bible is Ecclesiastes. But there is great wisdom there. Solomon understood the evil in this world and the feelings when it gains victory. But he also understood that evil does not win in the end. There is a hopelessness that comes, but one must know that good–no, the good God–will have ultimate victory.

“Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity,” (Ecclesiastes 8:10, ESV). It is an empty thing for the evil to declare and think they have gained the ultimate victory.

“Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil,” (Ecclesiastes 8:11, ESV). Because justice is delay and good’s victory is still distant more and more people believe they can get away with more and more evil. But that is not true.

“Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God,” (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13, ESV). Let those words sink in. “It will not go well for the wicked.” Perception is not reality. It looks like evil has the final word, but it does not. Never lose hope. Don’t feel empty. It will not go well for the enemy. Rejoice in that heart of yours. The Good God will prevail, even when our heroes, our superheroes fail.

I had to write this article on my iPhone as I have had no access to a computer today. So I apologize for the format.