Why Good Things Happen to Bad People
by GodLife on April 28, 2012
From the series Prayer Letter
I’m Not Good
Many people ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But that assumes there are good people. Lately, it has become glaringly clear to me that I am not a good person. Even the couple “good” things I’ve done were mostly done with selfish motives. Can you relate at all? When you are really, truly honest, do you feel like a good person?
Are You Mean, God?
I bring this up because the last thing that God said about Himself in His description is this:
“I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:7)
Wow! All the descriptions before were really nice (compassionate, merciful, faithful, loving), but this one is a little hard to swallow! It makes you ask, “Is that fair? Should I be punished for my parents’ sins? God, are you mean?”
The “Bad” Woman
I want to tell you about a woman Jesus talked to that no one thought was good, herself included. She likely came from a rough family and felt the effects. Married 5 times and now with a man not her husband, she was an easy target to judge. Plus, she was a Samaritan, the culture Jesus was supposed to hate. Plus she was a woman; respectable religious teachers only saw men as deserving of their time. All in all: not a good candidate for Jesus to talk to.
An Exact Picture of God
But what does Jesus do, shun her? That’s what I might do. (And remember: Jesus is an exact picture of God.) No, He does the opposite. In fact, she is one of the only ones that He out-right tells He is the Messiah:
Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink”…She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water”…“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”…The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!” (Excerpt from John 4:7-26)
God Is Not Like You Think
Think about this: out of all the people Jesus could’ve told He was the Messiah, He chose the woman no one thought was good. God is not like you think. He is not looking for the person who has sinned the least; He is looking for the person who needs Him the most. Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17
New Cause=New Effect
The laws of cause and effect are still in motion. That’s why God said He doesn’t excuse the guilty. However, there is a new rule with Jesus: when you give your life to Him, He starts things over for you. The Bible says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 That means the past sins that held you down don’t have power over you any more. It’s as if you had inherited a car that always pulled to the left, taking you off course. That might have been the sins of your parents or your own mistakes. But Jesus comes and sets the alignment in your car aright, so that now you can drive straight ahead. The road He has for you is His will, and it leads to Heaven. Jesus came to set the alignment aright for the Samaritan woman, and He wants to do it for you too, starting today.