So many people tell me they don’t believe in God because of the terrible things that have happened to them personally, or what they’ve see in the world. So if this is how you feel, please know I understand where you’re coming from.
When terrible things happen we want answers, justice and retribution. If we don’t get those, it’s so easy to shake our fist at the sky and curse at God, swearing we don’t need him. This is what I know about who God is after surviving “the terrible things” in the world and why I’m not angry with him for it.
You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in
your bottle. Are they not in your book?Psalm 56:8
I love that verse because it shows us how God treasures our tears. Our tears are precious to him! He sees every single thing that happens to us and his heart breaks wide open when our hearts are broken.
So why does he allow bad things to happen? The hard but truthful answer is He gave us free will, which is the power to choose what we do. And He gave it to every single person on the planet; it’s a divine right. What that means is you have the freedom to choose what you do and what you believe and so does everyone else.
With your free will you have the freedom to choose to do right or wrong and whatever you choose has consequences, and causes ripples. For example, if you drive while intoxicated and cause an accident, killing someone, there are consequences. The consequences for you are you will probably lose your driving privileges, go to jail, pay a fine and may be sued by the victim’s family.
The bad decision to drive while intoxicated that you made using your free will has consequences for others as well. The family of the person you’ve killed are now feeling the ripple effect of your decision. They’ve lost a parent, child, or sibling. If that person was a small business owner, and had employees, then the employees would suffer the ripple effect also. Maybe the business has to close and they all lose their jobs, and so on.
When my stepbrother Kevin tried to rape me I suffered the consequences of his bad choice. When I was handed a drink that left me unconscious, I suffered the consequences of someone else’s bad choice. Even if they thought it was a joke they were playing, it still had a price to pay. When I woke up in a garage with Randy assaulting me, I paid for his bad choice.
When my father abused my mother, my brothers and I, we all suffered the consequences and a layer of ripples were put in motion that actually caused a pattern of brokenness in our lives for decades to come. The ripples showed up in my brothers’ lives in the form of substance abuse, addiction, and broken relationships. My ripples showed up as self worth issues, married to perfectionism with a healthy dash of people pleasing. Basically they’re recipes for a disaster.
Every single day you use your free will to make decisions. Peanut butter and jelly or tuna salad? Netflix or a book? Go to the gym, or lay on the couch? These examples may seem silly and obviously eating peanut butter and jelly instead of tuna salad isn’t going to change the trajectory of your life. The point is that if you want the gift of free will to choose your sandwich, God is giving you complete freedom to choose “all the things”. You can’t have one without the other.
- What consequences have you suffered because someone abused their free will?
- What ripple effect have you felt because of someone’s bad decisions?
- What consequences or ripple effects have you caused by making bad decisions?
It’s important for you to know that God doesn’t have a scorecard with your name on it. He doesn’t keep track of how many bad choices you’ve made. He’s cheering for you to make the good ones and waiting to catch you when you fall from making the bad ones.
When we do the right thing, and make the right choices there’s a different outcome. This is why it’s so important to use your power, your free will correctly. God allows us to choose freely, he created us that way on purpose. If he hadn’t created us to have the capacity to choose, we would be pre-programmed robots.
This is why I’m not angry with God for the things that happened to me, I know it’s not His fault.
This is why I’m not angry with God for the things that happened to me, I know it’s not His fault the people in my life used their power to choose to make bad decisions.