The age old question.
"If there is a God, why are there people starving in Africa?"
"If there is a God, why do bad things happen to good people?"
The struggle as people try to come to terms with the bad that we see in the world, when there's a God that's supposedly so good.
Perhaps people who want to believe in God just can't reconcile why, if there is a God who loves us, horrible things happen to the least deserving, whilst the wicked get away with it all.
But let me pose something else to you... What if the things we see around us isn't from God? What if all the evil, all the destruction, jealously, pain, heartbreak, is not from God.
There are enough resources in this world right now to end poverty, homelessness, starvation. There has not been a lack of provision, but a lack of generosity. This is not a God problem, this is a people problem. So the question we actually need to ask is: why are humans so inherently greedy that we don't help others in need? Why are we so selfish that we will hurt those in our way to accompishing what we want?
It is the flaw of man to be selfish, arrogant, and prideful. How many of us regulary donate to charities or other not-for-profits? How many of us then blame the mega-rich for not doing anything to help these people in need? We hold on to things and build ourselves up, at the expense of someone else. We see a friend in need and say ‘Im thinking of you, fingers crossed!’ but don’t actually help them. Jesus talks about this in xx where he says ‘you walk past a brother in need’.
We live in a world where we idolise prosperity. We idolise money and our own self-gain, even at the expense of another person. If I said to you right now to give up $2000 to feed someone in Africa for a year, two years even, what would you say? You feel that tension? Our flesh has a hard time letting go of wordly possessions.
Jesus said "sell all your possessions, lay down your life and come follow me". How many of us do that? How many of us sell all the things we have in pursuit of justice and equality? Very few.
But okay lets say you did give up the $2000. The money will eventually run out. What then? You have to pay more. You will continually spend your resources trying to sustain the life of another. And you’re only one person, you're only benefiting one other person when there are millions in need. This isn't sustainable. The way to make it sustainable is to help that community itself become self-sustaining through education, skill development and an economy. But you can’t do that with just $2000. Instead you need to find other people who also want to give their $2000 to help build a sustainable community. And you saw how hard it was for you to give up your money, so how hard will it be to find others who also want to give up theirs?
A heart change
Now let’s say that the world was reset. The resources were all re-allocated, and now every one is equal. How long will it take before the people who are rich now will become rich again? Not very long. Because they still value money and possessions and will want to continue to build themselves up, build up a kingdom for themselves, an empire. We worship ourselves and our money and our possessions. So this isn’t a God problem, this is a man problem.
I have been watching a lot of crime shows lately and I notice something. People who have the power will make permanent decisions over temporary problems. People will shoot neighbours over parking in their driveway, friends over stealing $20, partners over texting some one. A temporary problem that can be resolved or forgotten, in the heat of the moment, becomes a permanent impact.
Instead of blaming God for all the evil in the world, we need to be honest with ourselves to see how much of it we are actually contributing. We have been given free will, and as a result are free to make choices over our actions, behaviours, words and character. A lot of us try to do the right thing, be a kind and loving person, but we fall and allow the greed of this world to over take us and live out our selfish desires.
In Christianity, we call this 'sin'.
The word 'sin' has a bad reputation in the western culture of today. Too many people feel judged by the church and get defensive and avoidant when the topic of sin comes up. But highlighting sin is not with the intention of someone having a go at you or your way of life. Even Christians are not immune from sinning, in fact many of us admit that we still struggle with sin everyday .
Sin defined simply is when we allow our selfish desires to over take our actions, words, and motives. Sin shows us where we are acting in a way that does not display love and honour to ourselves and others.
Humans have free will - people can choose how they act. And the nature of sin entering the world means that unfortunately a lot of people and a lot of things are under the influence of sin and its negative effects in the world.
Whilst God is the King of Kings, sin and evil is also as equally real. Sin has the power of this earthly world, only able to be overcome when we allow the power and love of Jesus to live within us.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
At the end of the day terrible things happen in the world because evil and sin is allowed to reign. We allow it to reign. People give in to their fleshly desires and do things that hurt others. Spiritual forces are at work to dishearten and pull people further away from the light and love of God and become further and further from the peaceful world God designed.
The only way to guard and protect yourself against it is to gain realisation of the authority of Jesus over sin, and to allow Him to live within you. The only way to create change in the world is to have a change of heart in your perspective, priorities and values.
"And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has promised, among the remnant called by the LORD." Joel 2:32 BSB
Be the change you want to see in the world. And I promise that you will start to see the goodness in the world around you too. Sometimes it's just a matter of perspective...
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Image source : https://www.freepik.com/photos/city' City photo created by jcomp