I’ve recently been reading the account of a man who suffered great financial and personal loss. He had some friends who came around to comfort him by sitting with him in silence for a few days. Then things got philosophical.
The friends kept telling him that he must have done something wrong at some point or he would be successful, healthy, and happy. Their life view? Good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. You are experiencing some bad stuff; ergo, you must be bad.
I see flaws on more than one level here.
• Who or what is good? I know it’s deep, but that’s how I roll. I have never talked to a parent who says, “My kid is a bad kid. Don’t let your kids hang with him.” No. As a teacher and a fellow parent, I only hear, “…but he’s a good kid”, as if that somehow mitigates any foolish or destructive behavior which gives incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. We all think we’re good. So wouldn’t that mean that all of us only deserve good things all the time?
• Life shows us a different story. I’m going to be frank. I’ve seen some pretty sweet things happen to awful people. The greedy and selfish don’t always lose their money and die young. And beautiful young children waste away from disease or suffer at the hands of evildoers.
So there must be a bigger story. A larger purpose to suffering. There will be more on this, I promise. For now, what insight have you gleaned over time about goodness?