Sometimes Bad Advice

June 9th, 2013 Posted in writing

One of the old monastic writers advised people that if they wanted to be at peace in this world, they should convince themselves that they deserved all the problems and sufferings that came their way. I can’t agree with that.

In the Book of Job, the main character knew that he didn’t deserve what he was going through. His friends told him that he must have done something to deserve it. However, at the end of the Book, God tells the friends that they were wrong and should beg forgiveness for their words against Job.

No, we don’t necessarily have to think suffering and evil visit us because we deserve them. They come because this world is limited and imperfect, and we, too, are limited, imperfect, and sometimes downright wicked. Thus, sometimes our cells act up, they begin multiplying in ways they aren’t supposed to and we get cancer. Sometimes there’s more rain than the ground can handle and people are flooded out. Or sometimes mentally disturbed persons hear voices telling them to kill their neighbor or set fire to his house, and they do.

We do make bad decisions and carry around bad attitudes that can lead us to hurt others or ourselves, of course. In such cases, we might say we suffer because of our own fault. But isn’t it apparent that there exists suffering which is truly undeserved? (Torture, rape and school shootings come to mind.) As I see it, then, to think people deserve all they suffer doesn’t lead them to peace. It traps them in foolish thinking.

Your thoughts?

  1. One Response to “Sometimes Bad Advice”

  2. By Marj on Jun 10, 2013

    Thanks so much Father for posting this. I am saving it in the hopes I can pull it out to share with others as needed.

    When my son was the driver in a tragic accident,I knew he would be told by many well intentioned people that God put him in that accident to get his attention. I made sure I told him that God–his Creator– would no more have run him off the road than his mother would. Well, actually, God was a lot less likely to want to cause him bodily harm than his often frazzled mother!! (I was known for quoting the old Bill Cosby line, “I brought you into this world…..”

    Seriously, this is the most concise explanation I have seen of why bad things happen to good people. Definitely a keeper!

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