Spiritual Care Department
Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center
Why is there evil?
"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those 18 who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them - do you think they were guiltier than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.'" (Luke 13:1-5)
As a medical staff chaplain, I have been asked many times in both intensive care unit and the emergency rooms by patients, their family members and even staff members in the midst of a physical trauma/crisis; "If God is loving and good, why did this horrible event happen?" There are all sorts of variations on this same question: 1. Why do bad things happen to good people; or, 2. What have I done to deserve this?
Many people think that if catastrophe strikes, it was because they had done something bad or evil. Many find themselves wrestling with the notion of loving God and wondering how any good can possibly come from such painful situations.
On the other hand, they think that if fortune comes their way they must have done something good. Regretfully, they don't view God as a God of love and mercy but as a God of judgment and justice. In their belief system, God punishes evil and rewards good.
In this Gospel text, Jesus revealed that such theological ideas are wrong. He showed that we ask the wrong question when we ask why bad things happen to good people.
We can begin to understand the fallacy in this question if we just recall the words we speak at the beginning of our Lord's Day worship services; "Lord, be merciful to me a sinnerWe confess; we have erred and strayed too much from Your ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against Your holy laws" With these words we confess that we NOT good people. We are imperfect, wounded, rebellious, selfish and sinful people. Do you begin to see the fallacy of the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
We sometimes use theological words and forget what they really mean. When we say that we sin, we are saying that we are sinners, imperfect, emotionally and spiritually wounded in need of a Savior or Redeemer from all sin, death and the Evil One.
In the midst of our physical, emotional, or spiritual crisis, it's God's healing spirit, Who renews our hearts and minds to acclaim: "Christ has died for me! Christ has risen from the dead for me! Christ will come again for me!" In other words, God is in control and His Word can be trusted, even through life's trials and painful experiences.
This coming Sept. 24, only for one night in hundreds of theaters across our nation, producer Kirk Cameron will attempt to provide a faith-based answer to the question, "How can God let bad things happen to good people?" in his movie titled "Unstoppable." It reveals that life is stronger than death, good is stronger than evil and faith is stronger than doubt.