Bad Things Only Happen to Bad People?

  • John 9:1 “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
  • 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Often after preaching on Job, someone will approach me who confesses that they believed bad things only happen to bad people and vice versa. Now, after saying this, there are many who think, “No way! Who would think something like that?!” Yet, how often Christians fall into the trap of thinking that the biggest churches are the more spiritual churches and the best known/most used preachers/laymen must be greater Christians. The disciples in Jn. 9 thought the same exact thing. The blind man was blind because of either his sin or his parents’ sin. “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (Jn. 9:3) This same false thinking misled Job’s 3 friends as well.

  • Eliphaz
  • Job 4:1 “Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
  • vs. 7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
  • vs. 8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”
  • Bildad
  • Job 8:1 “Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
  • vs. 6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.”
  • Zophar
  • Job 11:1 “Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,
  • vs. 4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.
  • vs. 5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;”
  • Even Job leaned this way
  • Job 31:3 “Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?” (Keep reading the rest of the chapter to see Job’s struggle with this thought process.)

As an evangelist, I have personally experienced this thinking repeatedly and regularly. Most believers assume that if an evangelist has meetings, God must really want that evangelist in evangelism and that the evangelist must be very skilled, liked, Spirit-filled, etc…. However, multitudes of qualified, skilled, Spirit-filled evangelists have never been used in local churches simply because church leadership doesn’t even believe in the biblical, historical, itinerant ministry of an evangelist anymore. At the time of this writing, I have poor health from an unknown illess. I do not experience world-wide notoriety. I am not rich. I can only preach a few meetings a year. Did I or my parents sin? Am I not called? Are most evangelists not being used by churches today the fault of the evangelists? Or is there more to this than meets the eye?

It should also be noted that sometimes a person’s trials are a result of sin and/or poor choices. (See Job’s Character) However, Job’s 3 friends could not find any specific sin in Job. This is what Elihu was upset with them about in Job 32:2-3.

  • Job 32:2 “Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram…
  • vs. 3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.”

It is important to not judge others negatively just because bad things are happening in their life. If there is factual, scriptural evidence of wrong doing, so be it. But even then, we must make sure to judge the specific, sinful practice, not the person.