[June 22]--Why Do Bad Things Happen? My Parents

Ex. 34:6-7

We’ve discussed this controversial point before, but no overview of why bad things happen in the world would be complete without talking about this subject. One of the things I love about America is what Dennis Prager calls the “unimportance of blood.” In older Europe, indeed in all other parts of the world (other than America) and throughout history, your lineage influenced or even outright determined your station in life. If you were born of royal or noble blood, then that meant a lot. If you were born into the “common” class, or “untouchable” class in India, or serf class in Russia, you'd likely be held back from advancing beyond your station. It didn’t matter nearly as much how smart you were, how ambitious you were, or how talented you were.

Not so in America, at least in theory. We don’t have an official “royal” class, and most of the time we couldn’t care less who your grandfather was. As someone once pointed out to me years ago, if Bill Gates approached a homeless man and offered him a thousand dollars to kiss his feet, the street person would likely tell Gates to go a certain warm place! Despite all its lingering problems with race and other issues, I love how this land is an unparalleled opportunity to advance as far as your talent, ambition, and inclinations take you.

But in emphasizing the “unimportance of blood,” perhaps we've gone to the other extreme. Who you are is influenced a lot by where you came from. Either consciously or unconsciously, you're to some degree working out of traditions which were handed down to you. By not even acknowledging this, by not even noticing the family traditions, both good and bad, you’re likely going to be even more swayed by them than if you took them into account.

I don’t want to recount our past discussion about passages like this one, but let’s stipulate that the Lord, in some mysterious way, allows or even perpetuates blessings or curses on families. Is this because he’s capricious or cruel? Let me answer that question with a question. Does that sound like the God of the Bible to you? Of course not.

There are some things to keep in mind when talking about this. First, remember that one of the effects of sin, which God in his wisdom hasn't chosen to erase, is that your sin brings consequences on others, especially on those you care about. This doesn't mean that he's sending anyone to hell because of the sins of their parents or ancestors. Each one of us will give an individual accounting to him one day.

The other thing to remember, as I mentioned in yesterday’s reading, the decisions of others can benefit us as well as help us. Finally, please focus on the fact that in Christ each of us has a new beginning. When we're redeemed by his precious blood, he declares us a new creature in Christ, and the old has gone and the new has come. You might be influenced by the decisions of your parents, but you don’t have to be bound by them. Freedom in Christ—it’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Lord, you're the perfect Father to me. You always give me the perfect balance of discipline, grace, mercy, and love. Thank you Jesus, that your mercies are new every morning.

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