Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

It is quite common for people to express faith in the basic goodness of mankind.  In group settings, I will ask, “Do you believe in the goodness of people?”  Nearly everyone responds in the affirmative.  Most are shocked when I say with a wry smile that I believe in the badness of people.  I follow with light remarks as cover for what is, in reality, dark truth.  While most will not have the requisite theological basis for such a conclusion, the idea that we emotionally need to believe the inaccurate is, nevertheless, valid.

One called to Jesus addressing Him as “Good Master.”  Jesus questioned the man as to why he would call Him good since none was but God.  Jesus’ point was that to call Him good was to call Him God.  Let this understanding be in you.  No one is good.  What we define as goodness is relative badness.  The Savior said it, not some psychologist.  Paul informed us that all are sinners and none do good.  Not even one.  The great Apostle said that evil was present in all his own deeds, and he could not even understand how it worked in his life.  The Old Testament teaches that our righteousness is filthy rags. 

No.  I don’t believe in the goodness of people.  Now, I do understand that some deeds are meritorious while others are not.  There is biblical support for that position.  But there are no actions performed by humans that are free from the taint of sin.  Thus, they fail the test of goodness.  Many true and sincere Christ-followers do not really understand the depth of human depravity and the effects of the fall on the race.  They innocently hope and desperately believe that something praiseworthy is achieved by humanity.  In this, they are wrong but will not be convinced otherwise.

It is precisely because we are lost beyond hope and utterly depraved that we need a Savior.  And it is exactly our inability to redeem ourselves that brought to us the gift of God.  It can be hard to wrap our heads around the destruction brought on us by the first Adam but wonderful for us to realize the grace given by the Second. 

The frequently-asked question of why bad things happen to good people is exactly backwards.  The question should be, “Why does anything good ever happen to anyone?”  We’ve proved time and again we don’t deserve it.  As has been said, there is a deep theological basis for understanding this undeniable truth, but truth it remains understood, accepted or not.  Why does God allow any crumbs to fall to us from the table of heaven? 

Good things happen to bad people through the grace of God, and God does not exhibit His grace for nothing.  There is a reason for every action of the Almighty, and each of His deeds will accomplish its purpose.  God would be righteous if no one received grace, but the fact that so many do is evidence of His great love.

Paul said the goodness of God shined on men to lead them to repentance.  Every gracious act of the King draws people to Himself and the greatest gift of salvation.  The Almighty is working an eternal plan with the aim of redeeming the race of men.  He is more kind than the most benevolent and more wise than any scholar.  God is good to you so you will recognize the Benefactor and come to Him for the forgiveness of sins.


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