[June 21]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? Other Peoples’ Bad Decisions

Gen. 4:1-16

I sometimes wonder what was going through the minds of our first parents as they stepped out of the garden. Were they thinking about what they had lost? Did they have any inkling about how bad it would be in exile from God’s presence? I seriously doubt it. I believe that they were horrified by the bloody sacrifice of the animals which had provided them clothing, and they were probably frightened by the Creator’s words about curses and going back to dust. But being able to visualize all the pain and suffering which resulted from one bad decision? I don't think so.

And naturally they never would have foreseen how the results of sin would immediately crop up within their own family. I couldn’t even imagine the looks on their faces as they went out to look for their missing sons and found Abel’s body.

I wish that I could tell you that your sin, your poor decisions, affect only you, but that would be a lie. In fact, that's one of the most effective lies of the Enemy: “Oh don’t worry about that harmless look at that girl. Don’t worry about that little bit of money that your stole. Don’t worry about that little bit of gossip. It won’t hurt anything. No one will ever know.”

We all know that it’s a lie, but we all keep listening to him. I mean, we can see it everyday. An addicted woman gets pregnant, and her baby suffers for a lifetime as a result. Someone steals a little money, and they contribute to a culture that leads to the downfall of major corporations on which depend the livelihood and retirements of thousands of people. Someone lets a little image take root in their mind, and it starts a crack in the foundation of a marriage, which leads to a devastation in the lives of children. Which leads to a worse society, which affects all of us.

That’s one of the major reasons why we suffer in this life. We mentioned yesterday the contributions of our own foolish choices, and they often have an impact on us for the rest of our lives. Thank the Lord, he forgives the moment we confess, but he never promised that the earthly consequences would be erased immediately. In fact, Scripture teaches the exact opposite. And regrettably, those sinful decisions which I make affect you, and vice-versa.

But here’s another reason to thank the Lord. We not only suffer from the sinful decisions of others, but we can benefit from the good decisions of others as well. I just finished reading a book about the end of the Civil War, and how the wise and good decisions made by men (on both sides) in the last month of the war brought this nation back together and positively affect us to this day. But of course the greatest example of this is the Good News: That the one decision made by one Man to obey his Father has the greatest impact in human history, even more than the impact of Adam as he chose to disobey: “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” Amen!

Lord Jesus, I can’t even begin to thank you for what you’ve done. Help me to hate sin like you do. Help me to love righteousness, like you do. I want to think more like you, talk more like you, and act more like you. Please.

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