Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. ~ Walter Anderson
It’s a common question: Why do bad things happen to good people? I watch the news with a broken heart as one gut wrenching trauma replaces another like a slideshow, clicking from disaster to disaster.
I watch and pray and, if I’m honest, there’s a small part of me that’s relieved that this time it didn’t happen to my family or my friends, or to me. Not this time. But something will, sometime, because bad things happen to good people.
There’s a second question: Why do good things happen to bad people? Where the first question saddens, the second challenges. It’s easier for me to grieve for the sorrows of the good than to be glad for the blessings of the bad.
When I focus on experience and expectations, rather than the exegesis, both questions have the same answer. Life here, on this side of heaven, isn’t fair. Thank God it isn’t!
An eye for an eye, that’s fair, but there’s nothing fair about turning the other cheek. There’s nothing fair about forgiving 70 x 7. Maybe the injustice of it is why it’s so hard?
The fact that good and virtuous traits like turning the other cheek don’t come naturally to me, leads me to ask a third question. Am I really a very good person who occasionally experiences bad things or am I a very flawed person who often experiences undeserved blessings? The sick don’t need a doctor. The good don’t need grace because grace, by its nature and definition, is entirely unfair and unmerited. I need grace, daily grace, so there’s the answer.
Jesus was direct: … love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you.
Bad things happen. Love, bless, do good and pray (for the good people and for the bad people). Those are the responses that will define my character and my quality of life.