Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People

February 19, 2014 | 16 comments

Books have been written on the subject. Speakers make a career of talking on the topic. Thousands of sermons have been preached on the quandary: Why do bad things happen to good people?

It’s not hard to answer. Bad things happen to everyone.

Look at Jesus Christ, the best man to ever walk the globe. He loved his neighbor, healed their sick bodies, raised their dead children to life, restored sanity, fed the multitudes without charge, and showed a path to heaven. And what did he get in return? Crucified! That’s a very bad thing happening to a very good person.

But there’s a lesson to be learned. If bad things happen to good and bad people alike, the bottom line is not whether wickedness is going to appear, but how to handle it when it comes.

It is naïve to believe that one is going to cruise through the human experience without facing evil in some of its severest forms. The human world is a constant battle of good versus evil.

Just because you are a good and moral person, doesn’t mean you aren’t going to face evil and have to deal with its attempts to usurp the goodness in your life. So, again, the issue is not whether the potential for bad things happening comes along, but how you deal with it when the attempt presents itself.

A worst possible outcome happened to Jesus when he was nailed to the cross, but Jesus handled it so well. It didn’t give into the attackers. He conquered their intent by understanding his life to be God. He remained in a consciousness of Almighty Love, and three days later walked out of the tomb alive. What was a bad thing turned into a good thing.

We too, must handle the attacks of evil in the same way. When we stay united with Almighty Love, we retain the spiritual composure necessary to face evil fearlessly when it surfaces. Spiritual mindedness prevents us from getting stymied, perplexed or despondent. Spiritual outlook helps us see through the façade of evil and prevent harm.

So, don’t waste time wondering why bad things happen to good people. Bad things seem to happen to everyone in different forms. But that doesn’t mean the bad is going to take over and push out the good. God is the good, and God is permanent. Stay iron-bonded to the good and conquer the bad. Through Christ’s help, you can do it.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Phil. 4:13, KJV.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” Phil. 4:13, NLT.


16 thoughts on “Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People”

  1. Thanks Evan, your article is so very enlightening. Christ is a shining example of how a bad experience can change into an extremely uplifting experience, only if we understand our unity and onenes with the almighty God. He did good, good and good alone without a complaint or expectations, and he got the cross. Did he deserve it? Not at all. We need to learn from this example set by Christ, to always joyfully continue doing good inspite of all odds, because we know that the crown will soon follow the cross.

  2. Good point. We can’t go around feeling sorry for ourselves. Evil is not a respector of persons…. MBE says that somewhere. Stand strong and stand with God. Thank you.

  3. Wow, at first when I saw the title I kind of chuckled but your article made me realize I’ve been looking for what way I’m bad and deserve all the problems I’ve been facing. it’s not that at all. Of course it’s right to correct any negative in our lives but as you point out these errors are not necessarily appearing because I’m bad. Lots of good point here. Thank you!

  4. It seems like that, doesn’t it? Only good people get the worst of it. An example in history is the destruction of the Third Reich and it’s founder, Adolph Hitler. He got what he deserved and so did Germany. Evil never wins, and those who are in the midst of this evil must learn scientific prayer and demonstrate it as best as one can. Malala Yousefie got shot in the head which was a bad thing, but look at what happened? She came though it as a top leader for woman’s right to be educated. A world I-CON, a leader, courageous at that. Evil had no power to stop it.

  5. I have heard it said, “Just because you are a vegetarian, doesn’t mean the bull isn’t going to charge you”. In the We Knew Mary Baker Eddy book, Martha Willcox shares Mrs. Eddy’s instructions on how to handle malpractice or evil. It is one of the most profound and wise pearls of wisdom I have ever encountered.

  6. One of the things I love about this blog is that it is completely unfiltered. In other words, it allows for an open discussion among people that are honestly seeking a better understanding of Truth. (I know what you’re thinking…uh oh, I better brace myself now, eh? lol)

    I’ve often wondered about Jesus crucifixion so I’d be interested in other people’s opinions on what I’m about to write here (especially Evan if he wishes to respond).

    I’m not sure I agree with the characterization of Jesus being crucified as being similar to bad things happening to the rest of us. Mrs Eddy writes the following in Science and Health (page 51):

    > Jesus could have withdrawn himself from his enemies. He had power to
    > lay down a human sense of life for his spiritual identity in the likeness of
    > the divine; but he allowed men to attempt the destruction of the mortal
    > body in order that he might furnish the proof of immortal life.

    I’ve always read this to mean that Jesus *LET* his enemies destroy his mortal body for the purpose of teaching us all that life is divine, immortal. Or to state it a different way, he didn’t have to endure the “bad thing” (i.e. the crucifixion) that happened to him. He ALLOWED the crucifixion to happen to him in order to teach the rest of us a valuable lesson. That to me is different than when bad things happen to me due to a lack of spiritual enlightenment on my part. So I guess I believe that the more understanding we gain, the less we are susceptible to bad things happening to us.

    Here is a little story that portrays my view of bad things happening to good people…

    A little boy (Joey) was in grade school and his teacher asked him to add 2 + 2. He responded with an answer of ‘4’. His teacher then looked disgusted with him and said “Now Joey, you think about that again and tell me the correct answer to 2+2”. Joey was a little worried that he might have gotten it wrong so he thought again but he still felt ‘4’ was the right answer so he responded again with an answer of ‘4’. Once again the teacher scolded him and asked him again for a correct answer to her question. This time Joey started sweating and fidgeting and thought as hard as he could about the question. After a few minutes he was still sure of his answer and he again answered ‘4’. This time the teacher praised him and said “You are correct Joey…you were correct the other two times you answered also, but I just wanted to be sure you REALLY knew the correct answer!”

    So I often think when bad things appear to happen to us, it’s just a “trial” that is making us “prove our understanding”. Sometimes we may “think” we know something, but sometimes we are just “mouthing words we’ve heard someone else say”. It’s not until we endure trials that we are forced to really KNOW the Truth! This idea is also portrayed in the trials Jesus endured as described in Matthew chapter 4.

    Anyway, I don’t claim to know whether I’m right or not here. Just thought I’d provide a slightly different view of what has come to me as a result of thinking about this topic and let others respond with their ideas on the subject if they so choose.

    1. Brian, Jesus did not start his mission to earth mindedness allowing for the more advanced demonstration of the metaphysical Christ Science over an attempted crucifixion of his true identity or selfhood, but neither in factual mathematics do we begin to learn its science by learning the higher calculus of relativity, and such, without first demonstrating the steadfast principle that 2+2=4, always. The people, Jesus’s students (those willingly to listen and even to learn) needed the foundation of fundamentals from which to start. Only by first proving the smaller, introductory concepts are we able to take the larger forward step over all seeming matter. Thought first is demonstrated in consciousness before demonstrating proof of the “higher ways.”

      Thank you, thank you Evan for sharing this item of understanding and especially for “Spirit View.”

    2. Hi Brian,

      Your points are well taken! And I believe you are correct, that as our spiritual understanding advances, we avoid many bad things happening to us, but we also still have many lessons to learn until we reach the perfect understanding. And so, even the most advanced thinkers and teachers have their moments of trial too, just like the rest of us, while they are figuring out the higher laws of God and how to demonstrate them. Jesus had the understanding to avoid the crucifixion, but it was his mission to follow through, and he did. It was not a pleasant experience. Far from it, but the truth he understood got him through it triumphant. And it works for us too! Thanks for contributing.

  7. Thanks Evan, I learn something every day, not only from what you write, but from others contributions too.
    As MBE said “The time for thinkers has come” …we do need to investigate , analyse, discuss, ask questions, and of course, LISTEN to God’s messages too in order to learn about God and Life and that’s what I love about CS…it MAKES you think and its so logical!

  8. What a great post and what thoughtful comments. When bad things come up in my life I like to think, ” Okay, this is something I have to deal with, but it isn’t the last word on the subject! My prayers will reveal healing or blessing or whatever seems to be missing. This healing, etc., is the last word because it is God’s word!
    Thanks again to all

  9. Thank you, Evan, for tackling the difficult questions.

    The take way message for me is that it is not what happens but how we react that is most important.

    And as you said : “Stay iron-bonded to the good and conquer the bad. Through Christ’s help, you can do it.”

    Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.

    Rob Scott
    Chicago, IL

  10. The title of this blog surfaced a lot of questions that I’ve been subconsciously bothered by for over 25 years. As Evan mentions, a lot of books have been written on this topic and I read one of those books about 25 years ago. At the time I felt like I was a very good person (faithfully read the weekly Bible lesson, participated in church, etc., etc.) yet I felt besieged by “bad things”. Reading the book on this topic turned out to be a dead end because I couldn’t buy in to the author’s premise. But I realize now that I failed to adequately protect my thought from certain ideas related to this topic and I’ve no doubt suffered as a result. So I’d like to comment again and share the insights that I’ve gained after finally coming to peace with this topic. (Thanks Evan for your thought provoking blog!!!)

    I’m an engineer by profession. I’ve been employed as an engineer for 29 years and studied engineering in college for 5 years prior to starting my career, so I’ve been thoroughly trained to think in “cause and effect” relationships. Therefore the title of this blog asks a question that is very foreign to the way I’ve been taught to think.

    For example, if a very good engineer designs and oversees the construction of a bridge, and then that bridge collapses a year after construction, no other engineer would ever ask the question “Why did that bad thing (bridge collapse) happen to that good person (engineer)”. Why? Because an engineer is taught that the laws of physics are immutable (unchanging and not subject to change), reliable, and ever-present. Therefore, every engineer would conclude that the only possible cause for a bridge collapsing is that some law of the physical sciences was not adhered to or applied properly.

    Similarly if an experienced baker bakes a cake and it fails to rise, he/she doesn’t complain that they are a good baker and yet a bad thing happened to them. They immediately understand they must have failed to adhere to the laws of chemistry in some way and that is why their cake failed to rise.

    Therefore, it’s generally accepted that the laws of physical science, when applied properly, can only yield a good (expected) result. Stated mathematically, one could write:

    physical law applied correctly == good result

    Then why is it that people write books on the subject “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Even though I read a book on this subject, I had never before answered that question for myself and it wasn’t until I was confronted with this question again via this blog that I made myself answer that question. The conclusion I’ve reached is that books on this subject are written by people who believe humans are not only governed by physical laws, but also by God’s law, and they believe one or both of the following:

    1) God is not all powerful, and therefore there is another power or cause (evil) that can supersede God’s law to cause bad things to happen to good people, or

    2) God is all powerful but He is not all good because He causes bad things to happen to people. In the legal profession these sorts of “bad things” are even referred to as “acts of God”.

    Stated mathematically, one could summarize this belief as follows:

    God’s law == sometimes good and sometimes bad

    What could be more demoralizing than that belief? Perhaps this is why so many people seem to be suffering from depression these days. Or if your Christian Science treatments don’t yield healing results, it could be because you are subconsciously buying in to this false belief. Perhaps I was unknowingly buying into this belief 25 years ago when it seemed so many bad things were happening to me even though my actions were good. And finally, isn’t this false belief the reason so many people feel more comfortable trusting in physical (medical) laws for their health care instead of trusting in God’s law?

    But Mary Baker Eddy (and Christ Jesus before her) showed us that this belief is NOT TRUE and therefore we don’t need to be demoralized by it if we REJECT it when tempted by it. And it’s VERY important that we do just that!

    Mary Baker Eddy discovered that God’s law is immutable, reliable, and ever-present. She documented these and many other aspects of God’s law in her book “Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures”. We could describe Mrs. Eddy’s discovery mathematically as follows:

    God’s law == always good, producing only harmony

    Christian Scientists know that physical laws (so-called) are simply counterfeits of God’s laws. But just like a counterfeit dollar resembles a real dollar in many ways, some characteristics of the counterfeit “physical universe” belief are similar to the real, spiritual universe. The immutable, reliable, and ever-present nature of law is one such characteristic. No physical scientist ever worries that the law of gravity will result in a downward force one day but could result in an upward force another day or that there is a spot on earth where gravity is not operating. Similarly, no Christian Scientist should ever worry that God’s law of good will result in good one day but evil another day or that God’s law is not always present and operating to meet their need. Furthermore, we know that God’s law supersedes the so-called material laws and therefore a knowledge of that truth allows us to overcome limitations or “bad things” imposed by the false belief of material law. I’ve realized recently just how often Jesus acted contrary to material laws…for example, walking on water (John 6:19) contrary to the laws of physics, turning water into wine (John 2) contrary to the laws of chemistry, immediately transporting a ship to the other side of a sea (John 6:21) contrary to the laws of time, immediately restoring health to diseased or deformed people contrary to biological human cell growth laws (see Bible, chapters Matthew-John).

    The omnipresence and continuous action of God’s law was brought out so well in a recent Daily Lift by Lindsey Taylor


    in which she explained that God is not a God of “intervention”. He doesn’t allow “bad things” to happen and then “intervene” to correct those bad things when we pray for His help. Instead God’s law operates continuously and therefore His laws are ALWAYS causing and maintaining harmony in His creation. (See also God’s Law of Adjustment, by Adam Dickey, http://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1916/1/33-10/god-s-law-of-adjustment)

    It’s interesting how our own misconceptions can cause us to see or read things incorrectly. When I first read this blog topic, it bothered me because I mis-read it as promoting the idea that God’s law can sometimes result in “good” but other times results in “bad”. But re-reading it again in light of the ideas above I found it doesn’t say that at all. Instead this blog is warning us to be alert when we are *tempted* to accept “bad” into our consciousness and instead to refute these false temptations and overcome them, just as Jesus did! And it is informing us WE CAN do that! Or as stated in this blog “Through Christ’s help, you can do it.”

    It’s comforting to know we have a precedent to follow in Christ Jesus. As stated in this blog, Jesus did encounter “bad things” but Jesus proved conclusively that the temptation to accept “bad things” into thought (experience) CAN be refuted. For example, when he was tempted by the belief of limited supply, he refuted that suggestion with God’s law of abundance and was therefore able to feed thousands of people with only a few loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:13-21). When he was tempted to believe that bad weather could cause him to perish, he refuted that suggestion with God’s law of harmony and calmed the storm (Mark 4:35-39). When he was tempted to believe a violent mob would harm him, he refuted that suggestion with the knowledge that God is the only source of power and “passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:28-30).

    I was suffering with chronic depression back during the time I read the book entitled “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and in thinking back on that time I realize now that my depression went from “bad” to “severe” after reading that book. Many days I lay in bed unable to motivate myself to get up while stuck in a continuous negative loop of “Why bother?” thinking. “Why bother striving to practice God’s law if sometimes it yields good but other times yields bad?” Through much prayerful effort I was able to gradually overcome the symptoms of depression. But a couple of times each year since then I would still find myself suffering for a few days from those same symptoms. When this happened recently I remember thinking to myself, “this is really dumb…you need to get over this once and for all!”. Then I remembered the comment Janet Jones posted to “The benefits of Class Instruction” blog (http://spiritview.net/2014/02/benefits-class-instruction.html) about reaching out to your dear Father when you need instruction on some point. So that’s what I did. I prayed to know that God is all-knowing Mind and I reflect that Mind and I can therefore know what I need to know to finally overcome this problem. Shortly thereafter Evan posted this blog topic which caused me to go through the thought process described above and realize the importance of:

    1) thoroughly rejecting the belief in a power (law) opposed to the law of God, ever present good, and

    2) thoroughly knowing I have the ability to reject the “bad things” temptations when confronted by them, just like Jesus did

    Since coming to these conclusions I’ve felt like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. So I wanted to share these ideas in an effort to help others that may have either struggled with these same issues or may have mis-read this blog post as I did.

    I am so grateful to you Evan for this blog (expression of God), for the people who also express God via their comments to this blog, for Mrs. Eddy for discovering that God’s law always produces good, never evil, and for Jesus the way-shower who showed us that when we are tempted by “bad things” that there is a law of God that can be applied to refute those “bad things” (thoughts) and thus reveal the true, harmonious, idea of God

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