Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

I met with 9-year-old this week who asked me why bad things had to happen to good people. My reply, “that’s just the way it is.” Great question, terrible answer. The exchange, however, reminded me of how we, as humans, have such a focus on the negative and how we tend to ignore the positive.

For example, I got up that morning next to a husband that loves me, who doesn’t snore or hog the covers; a husband who comes home each night after work and puts his hard-earned money into our household and not into gambling, drinking, or other women. This husband took me to a concert the night before that he didn’t even really want to see. He turns the radio off when I’m talking about something important. He loves our mornings together and is disappointed when I have to get up earlier for other obligations. He has fun getting ready for work and shares his hopes and dreams with me. He tells me he loves me every single morning. He kisses me before he leaves. He asks when I’ll be home so he knows when to have supper ready. And he forgot to take out the bathroom garbage. That lazy bum! Never mind all that other stuff I said, he forgot the garbage! I’m angry!

Well, how ridiculous! Yet, my reaction is pretty “human.” That is, we as humans often overlook 20 or 30 different positive things and we focus on a single negative thing as if the negative thing makes all the positive things irrelevant.

I had to elaborate on my answer to that little boy. I told him that lots of good things happen to good people, too, but sometimes we forget to notice them because of one bad thing. Even when the bad thing is something we consider the ultimate bad thing, death, we often overlook the person’s entire wonderful life and lament about this one terrible thing that has happened to them. Of course, it’s a huge terrible thing, but it really doesn’t erase the wonderful parts of their life.

In conclusion, don’t let one negative thing erase or undo hundreds of positive things in your life. Deal with the negative issue appropriately, but don’t let it use all your time and energy, time and energy you could be using to enjoy all the positives that you’ve temporarily forgotten.

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