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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why do good things happen to bad people?

Does the Lord bless the wicked? We’ve all seen it. It’s the converse of bad things happen to good people. Sometimes good things happen to bad people.
In church we are taught that everything we have comes from God, both spiritual and temporal blessings. We are nothing by ourselves and that anything we attain or accomplish is only because of God. We are taught that we should give praise and thanks to God and that it is wrong to take credit ourselves. We are also taught that we are blessed because of obedience and sacrifice. So what are we to make of when we see the wicked blessed? When we see good things happen to bad people. Did it come from God? Did it come from the Satan? Or can the person just take the credit themselves as it is a product of their own means?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is mortality. There is a reason why some people wanted Satan's plan.
There are many instances where God helps us have good things "happen." He gives us agency and brains that can learn. He gives us commandments to follow and the Holy Ghost.
We weren't promised to have a perfect life with the spouse and house with a picket fence where we live happily ever after until we die at age 90. We knew we'd come and face struggles and hardships. Health problems, relationship problems, sin, being hurt by other's sins, etc.
The good things that can happen to good people after bad things happening to good people are in how Heavenly Father can help us deal with these things. I read a book that chronicled a Christian woman's experience in a concentration camp. If you can get put in a camp and feel blessed because you were able to smuggle in a Bible, THAT is how you can thank the Lord for everything. I really believe in this concept and the fact that it will bring you happiness and peace.

Dallas said...

Interesting questions. I have been thinking about blessings a lot lately and was thinking about posting on that subject, however I was searching for the scripture, "Insomuch as you keep my commandments, blessed are ye." But I couldn't find it so my post never made it. The closest thing I found was Mosiah 2:41, "...consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God."

I don't want to use this as a game of semantics, however the answer also lies in what you consider to be bad, or wicked. I might call the person in front of me at Home Depot who is cursing at the cashier and making everyone have a terrible day a bad person. But if I were to "walk a mile" in his shoes I might find out that there are numerous wonderful qualities about him that are deserving of a blessing.

I think some people might consider this to be like a scale. Were you have good on one side and evil on the other and when the good side out ways the bad side we would receive a blessing. Yet, as Jeff Foxworthy puts it isn't a game of over under. Just because we pay tithing doesn't counteract the fact we are a jerk when in line at Home Depot, everything is judged separately.

I do think some "evil" people do work hard and obtain what we would refer to as blessings.

I'll stop rambling now and wait for your counterpoint.

Robby C said...

Good point on defining wicked. All of us suffer from some degree of wickedness. While I think that the answer to this question definitely relates to us in our varying degrees of wickedness, for the sake of this discussion we are going to go with a pretty extreme definition of wicked. We are talking about those that “are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God” (Alma 41:11). They are those that God is angry with (D&C 63:32). Those that He has said he will take vengeance on (D&C 29:17). Those for whom great destruction await (D&C 34:9). They are those that “shall go away into unquenchable fire” (D&C 43:33). They are those that fight against and try to undermine God. Those that are responsible for the spiritual death of many others by leading them away from God. McConkie describes them this way. “The wicked are the depraved, the vicious, the evil persons whose conduct is inharmonious with the divine standards. They are living a telestial law because they are doing the things which will assure them of an eventual telestial inheritance.” That is how I’d like to define wicked for this discussion. While we are clearing the air, I’ll address another foreseeable concern. There may be some that will say that the financial and career success, great family, and enjoyed health of the “wicked” are not really blessings. But I’m pretty sure that if we were sitting in Sunday school listing our blessings, those very things would be on the list of things we should thank God for.

Dallas said...

WOW great definition of wicked!!! Just reading those scriptures rallies me up for some good old apocalyptic vengeance and destruction, where do I sign up at?

This post really brings up another question, what really are blessings from the lord. Maybe what we are counting as blessings from God really aren't. Example: Persons A is a Wicked Atheist (not that all atheists are wicked just for the sake of this example) and works hard and exercises and becomes a wealthy healthy successful president of Company A without ever praying about anything or seeing God guidance.

Persons B is a devout Mormon who is constantly praying and seeing the lords blessing in every aspect of his life. On fast Sunday person B testifies of the blessings of the lord in his work and how blessed he is. Are these really blessing from the Lord, or is what is counted as blessings really Humility saying that God is responsible for everything.

So I echo your thoughts what are real blessings? Why are the wicked getting what we count as blessings?

Also back to your post you say, "In church we are taught..." one thing we have to remember that in church we learn people's interpretations of doctrine. We might heard the Sunday school teacher teach that all things come from the lord (and the manual might state that. However that might not be how things really work.

dollslikeus said...

Thanks may seem good for a while but they can turn to bad after a while I think people who do evil the evil they have done eeventually catches up to them and they wind up regretting it after a while.
I believe the good a person dooes lives years after they die .

Ami said...

Great discussion here of a topic I've long wondered about but a topic to which I've never been able to assign any absolute determination. It seems to me that the idea of agency, as has been mentioned, is tantamount here. In the same way that in the New Testament with the man who is disabled and the people ask Jesus who sinned to make him this way, his mother or father, and the answer is that the man's physical ailments have nothing to do with sin at all, I'm inclined to think that in a world that is dominated by mortal behavior, what "happens" to us is more a product of action and reaction rather than anything absolutely external. I may sound a bit like a Deist here, but what we consider "blessings" are probably more often than not a direct product of human behavior in one way or another; therefore, "blessings" can come and go depending on a person's physical and often coincidental circumstances (which is why, as Dallas mentioned, the term "blessing" has such varying and sometimes opposing signification), though in a few cases, direct influence by deity may come into play--but I suspect this happens much less frequently than we would like to believe--or the reverse perhaps if we see all human behavior tied to a kind of governing force--fate, destiny, inspiration or whatever. Hmmm...I wonder, however, even as I write this if the very opposite of my comment is true...

--AJC