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Your Better Self with Akanna: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

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Akanna OkekeIf you’re familiar with the bible, you would most likely also be familiar with the story of Job.  I’ve just completed a study of the book and, like before, I couldn’t stop wondering.

Here was a man minding his own business, being good, when all of a sudden he was inundated with every bad thing possible, save the loss of his life.

He began asking the age old question we still ask today. “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Not only did he think, he knew that he was good.  He knew he was righteous and it baffled him why a good God would allow such evil to befall such a good man like him.

His friends had different answers for him.  Some of them even accused him of being so prideful as to think he was righteous.  They were so sure he had done something to deserve what he was going through.

At the end, Job demanded an answer from God Himself. And God showed up, not particularly to give him an answer, but to give him a virtual tour of the world instead.  God showed him how everything in the world, no matter how big or small, was so intricately connected that it took an all-knowing and all-seeing being to be in charge of everything and mete out reward and punishment when due.

He showed him all of creation and asked him the rhetorical question: Where were you when I created all of this?

In essence, as long as Job could not run the world as seamlessly as God did, he was owed no explanations and therefore could not question God’s judgment.  He even went on to say that Job’s friends were wrong, meaning that Job was actually a good man to whom a lot of bad things happened.

I remember my first Philosophy class in University. The assignment was to write an essay titled: If God is Good, Why Evil?

Sometimes, bad things do happen to genuinely good people. And before we question God or conclude that He’s either evil or non-existent, we should take a look at the type of world He created. Take a virtual world tour like Job, if you will.

We will notice that He has created a world where everything is intricately connected and we as human beings thrive best when we live for others; when we love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves.

He has created a world where the consequences of our actions don’t just end with us, but affect others around us.

Think about a very clean, neat and tidy person like me (I know, I just had to), living in a city where majority of the inhabitants are dirty and untidy.  Everyone is a litterbug.  They eat bananas and toss the peels on the streets. Same thing with their egg shells, snack wrappers and other garbage – onto the streets with reckless abandon!

I try so hard to pick up garbage from the streets whenever I’m walking by, but the effort of one clean person is not enough in the multitude of pigs.  And so I, a clean and tidy person, over time find myself living in a slum because of the actions of other people.  A very bad thing happening to a very good person.

Flip the story around.  I’m the litterbug this time and everyone else in the city is clean.  Whenever I eat in my car, I fling the trash out the window and onto the streets.  People around pick up my litter and properly dispose of them.  As a result, a dirty pig like me would find himself living in the best of neighbourhoods because of the actions of others.  A very good thing happening to a rather bad person.

Our actions have ripple effects, and our collective good actions may drown out the singular bad ones by the few miscreants around us.

And sometimes not so much.

An entire town may get overridden with a disease because a singular doctor forgot to sterilize his equipment before using it on another patient.  Two entire countries may find themselves at war with each other because of the immaturity of their two leaders.

The bottom line is for us to acknowledge that our actions, no matter how small, have either positive or negative consequences that others would also have to bear with us, because we are so intricately connected with one another.

Sometimes, we may find a very good person, like Job, suffering and we wonder why such bad things would be allowed to happen to such good people.  Those ones we might not be able to explain.

But in most other cases, someone out there is suffering today because of the actions you took yesterday.  Therefore, let us be mindful of others and realize that selfish actions only contribute to the collective bad that everyone – including us – ends up suffering.

Walk in love instead and encourage others to. It is the one good action with a good ripple effect.  It repays evil for good because it keeps no record of wrongs.  It looks out for others because it is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish and not easily angered.  It always bears up, always trusts, always hopes and always endures long enough to drown out the actions of the miscreants among us.

And soon enough it would appear like, in this world of ours, only good things happen to good and bad people alike because love covers a multitude of bad deeds.

Akanna is an avid reader, writer, Risk Analyst and a budding Social Entrepreneur. He’s passionate about personal development, and influencing others to succeed!

10 Comments

  1. Mamamia

    June 5, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    There was a disconnect from this read for me, but I think I understand what you were trying to put out there. First, there is a thin line between good and bad. What defines a bad person really, society or religion? If it is the latter then I will say we were all sinners, however Gods death cleansed us all. believing in him means we are accepting of his gift and fully benefit from his unending love,
    however, the world does deter us from fulfilling this when we sin. Note, you can be a believer yet still sin and there are consequences towards this, nobody’s life is entirely perfect but we strive to be. Good by what standard? A good person by our standard maybe nice,a giver, smiles a lot and does a lot of good to man but what about abiding by Gods words. I guess at the end of it all we are all striving but we need to make conscious efforts to be good by Gods standards your little light can shine so brightly that it fixes a lot of bad.
    And no, things happen to all alike, your reaction to the happenings around you is all that matters, do you react in faith? or give up.

    • kike

      June 5, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Mamamia Am glad your a christian and like some of your comments not all.
      errrm dear it is not the DEATH OF GOD but the death of JESUS CHRIST you go to GOD through accepting his death and resuurection for you. So back to the question, firstly AKANNA DEAR a GOOD PERSON is diferent from a CHRISTIAN so is your question towards bad to good or bad to christians am confused here. Well choosing to be a christian means you are an enemy of the devil so he will do anytin to stop you but jesus says he will always fail if you keep believing his word in your heart. When it comes to our walk of faith, its PERSONAL dont use the happenings of a fellow christian or a moralist just doing good to compare yourself , the fact that a christian marriage failed doesnt mean yours will fail too or that a christian died through plane crash you now think it will happen to you Dont make the error of comparing yourself with others both positively or negatively Only learn from those that have suceeded.if you fail to live by FAITH and by the PRINCIPLES of this journey with God you expose yourself to harm. Also there are times when things happen to shake us from our comfort zone, if God wants me to work in a diferent company he could let me get fired from work and without knowing i could feel ohhh God has forsaken me but when you remember his word that says ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them called according to his purpose , they navigate and synergise for our good,you will not fret or make a fuss about it, like joseph it may start bad but if you LET GO AND LET GOD it will cause you to laugh again, this is why we are always joyful.

    • Mamamia

      June 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      ???

    • Akanna Okeke

      June 6, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Hey guys(Mamamia, Kike), thanks for writing in!

      The article was deliberately written to elicit such reaction from you. Just to get you thinking and asking questions. So, it’s kind of left open-ended without giving an answer to the question posed in the title.

      The truth is that I don’t have the answer – only God does. What I do know though is that God built the world in such a way that you are incentivized to connect with other people – or you die, factually. A world where no one is an island. This means that whatever you do, affects your neighbor. If you do good, your neighbors benefit and if you do bad, they suffer – all because of you.

      So, you may replace ‘good’ in this case with the word ‘innocent’ and you’ll see that the innocent also tend to suffer for the crimes of the guilty because we are a society of people- a connected world.

      If we choose to walk in love instead – realizing that our actions have consequences on other ‘innocent’ people – we will be mindful to do more good than bad so that more people benefit rather than suffer. When that is the case it would appear like (note: not that it will be; it will APPEAR like) everyone both innocent & guilty/good and bad have good benefits coming their way, collectively as a connected society. However, the isolated cases, like Job’s, still occur. And for those, I have no answers for you. We can only speculate and debate, which is good for discourse and which this article tries to elicit.

      Thanks for the intelligent discourse! 🙂

  2. lola

    June 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Being good omes with a price

    • Akanna Okeke

      June 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

      It sure does, lola! 🙂

  3. lagosian

    June 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    I dont know if our world has any hope of getting better, we only decide to walk in love just for the eternal purpose

    • Akanna Okeke

      June 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

      There’s always hope, lagosian. Faith, Hope and Love! And the greatest of them is love!! 🙂

  4. bolaji

    June 6, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Bad and good things just happen to people cause it comes with our existence here on earth, the examples you used are not even the main happenings that calls for this thought and i know being good is a good choice notwithstanding how it turns out

  5. toke

    June 7, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Spèechless

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