Lately I’ve been hearing today’s quote a lot; maybe more people are saying it these days or maybe I’m just noticing it. It’s the idea that if you’re a good person, then you deserve good things and those things will surely come to you. But is it really true that good things happen to good people? Don’t bad things happen to good people too? And what does the Bible say about it?
“Good Things Happen to Good People” – Anonymous
I couldn’t find a definitive origin of the quote “good things happen to good people”, it just seems to be one of those sayings that is part of our cultural consciousness. And so, knowing that it’s not in the Bible, let’s see if there is any Biblical truth to it.
In a previous post about God and karma, we wrote about how you reap what you sow, a concept we find in Galatians 6:7. From that we can surmise that good things will happen to good people, and bad things will happen to bad people. At the same time we read in the Bible that it rains on the just and the unjust. So which is it?
Life shows us that often times good things happen to bad people, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. This is not a problem with the Bible seemingly contradicting itself, it is a problem with our perspective. We tend to think in the short term, tend to think about immediate cause and effect – if I do something good today, then something good should come back to me tomorrow. We also tend to think of “good things” as things that are immediately pleasurable. Here is God’s promise:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11 KJV
When we read the Bible we find that what is good in God’s eyes is not necessarily good in our eyes (Isaiah 55:8), and so if we operate by faith in understanding this, we can be confident that things happen for a reason, and that all things work together for good, to those that love God. And so we can be confident that if we walk in faith, and do good before God, that He will bring good things into our lives that will accomplish His purposes. And if we are truly His children, then we could have joy in doing His will regardless of our immediate circumstances, knowing that He is working in our lives and one day we will see Him face to face.