I’ve run into countless people through the years who have had multiple bad things happen to them. They feel marked, like there is a big target on their back. It’s hard not for them to think that God or something is out to get them. So their question to me is – Why do bad things happen to me?
I’ll tell you what I tell them. I hope it helps.
Why Do Bad Things Happen to Me?
1. The world is broken. Bad things happen. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. We live in a flawed world. It’s filled with disease and broken people who do harmful things to each other. Nothing is perfect and so in an imperfect world there will be pain. Sometimes much pain. But be careful about attaching meaning to a series of events that truly are random. God is not punishing you or anything of that nature. Don’t let your mind take you down that road.
So, there is an element of chance to why bad things happen. But people are often unaware of how they invite bad things into their life. The following points relate to that.
2. You make bad choices. Sometimes the consequence of a bad choice is immediate. Other times the fruit of a bad choice might take years and so you lose track of the connection between your choice and the effect. For example, you might start smoking when you are twelve and die at sixty six from lung cancer. So a number of consequences might all “come home” at the same time leading you to think you are having bad luck when in reality it’s simple cause and effect.
3. You are friends with people who make bad choices. Many people have told me that they have had a number of loved ones all die within a year or two. It’s devastating. But let’s say one person commits suicide, another dies of lung cancer after a lifetime of heavy smoking and another dies from injuries of a car crash from driving under the influence. The coincidence of these deaths feels like bad things are happening to you. But it’s not about you. It’s about bad choices these people made through the years. They just happen to impact you.
Many people suffer from the consequences of decisions made by their friends and family. So it’s important to choose your friends well and choose how much time you will spend with self-destructive family members. Setting good boundaries in your life will decrease your “bad luck”.
4. You failed to plan ahead. It’s a cliche but true: when you fail to plan you plan to fail. Sometimes bad things happen because you didn’t anticipate a downturn. You might get stuck on the freeway with a brokendown car on the way to a job interview that you really need. Is that something bad “happening” to you? Or did you simply fail to take your car into get serviced?
5. You failed to anticipate a threat or temptation in your life. “I didn’t see it coming”. “It caught me by surprise”. We all have our weaknesses that will trip us up. But many people fail to think through the downside to their weakness and put up the necessary protection to prevent accidents. For example, if you travel for work you should know that there will be sexual temptations that you need to prepare for. You need a plan. Adultery doesn’t just “happen”. It’s a step by step process that can be averted. But if that affair leads to a divorce it will in turn cause many other bad things to happen. None of it had to happen if you prepared yourself in the first place.
6. You wallowed in self-pity instead of seeking help. When people tell me their bad situation I eventually ask; What have you done about it? I often get a stunned look in return. It’s as if their bad experience paralyzed them. They don’t feel like they can do anything. They thought complaining about it was their only option. They hoped someone would solve it for them. But there is almost always a next step followed by another and another that will lead to a turn around.
7. You let bitterness and unforgiveness shut you down. Resentment will lead you down a dark road. Guaranteed. Bad things follow people that choose that path. It’s not “bad luck”. It’s a choice that leads you to make other choices from a dark place. But forgiveness leads to freedom and light.
8. You shut God out of your life. When you eliminate the source of life you shut yourself off from the major source of good. When you invite God into your life you give yourself a whole new set of options.
Why do bad things happen? I hope you get my point. There are often many reasons that have nothing to do with “fate” but with the quality of your choices. It’s worth reflecting on this list and asking God to show you if any of these are true of you. Then take responsibility for the ones that are true and do something about them. Maybe your “luck” will start changing.
Question: What are some other reasons that come to mind as to why bad things happen to people? Leave your comment below and please “share the knowledge” by clicking the links.