Why Do Good Things Happen To Bad People?

By Joel A. Hess

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Answer: There are no good people! Is there a more common question asked by long-time church goers or sarcastic atheists? Holy Scripture makes it clear that there are no good people. I love John’s comment about Jesus at the end of chapter two of his gospel, “and Jesus needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” And of course, Paul demolishes anyone who thinks themselves good or righteous when he writes in the third chapter of his letter to the Romans, 

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.

But we shouldn’t need God’s Word to make that clear. Look around! Look in the mirror. Mankind ain’t too good, from the screaming toddler to the president of the United States.

When people asked Jesus a similar question (Luke 13) regarding some bad things that happened to people in His day, Jesus didn’t do the pastor dance by singing, “Well, it’s all in God’s plan. It will all work out. After the rain comes the rainbow.”

Instead, He sternly responded, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Yowza! So, what is our response to Hurricane Irma and Harvey? Repent! Don’t point fingers. Don’t try to figure out what Houston did wrong. Get on your knees! It’s reality time! I know it’s hard to say, but praise God for hurricanes!

Yes, the real question should be, “Why do good things happen to bad people?” That’s the real mystery. That’s the real question a wise man will ask.

Yet, that is exactly what has happened. This Jesus, who knew full well the ugliness of man, became man in order to save him. Why? He loves us. Why? I don’t know why! He loves us.

The only time we can truly ask why bad things happen to good people is when the one good person, Jesus, finds himself between two of our thievin’, murderin’ buddies. Why did the one good person have to die? He loves us, and for some crazy reason, He took our sins and our death upon himself in order to free us from it all.

No matter what a hurricane does to your person or your property, it cannot take away what you have in Christ. You will not only rebuild, but you will be rebuilt in the resurrection.

Thank God for crises in our lives that strip us down of everything we think we can’t live without, only to leave us with the one thing that can never be taken away: God’s gifts of forgiveness and eternal life in Christ.