Episode 1. When Bad Things Happen to Good People
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Sometimes – bad things happen to good people. When they happen to other people around us, family, at work, friends – what can we do? What’s our role? Join Berni as he takes a look at what …
Sometimes – bad things happen to good people. So, when those bad things happen to other people, those around us, family, friends, work, work colleagues – what can we do, you and I? What’s our role?
These days we live in a pretty clinical world. We see images of war and poverty on TV so often we’re almost immune to them. We put our old people into nursing homes. We live very detached lives from our neighbours and instead as a society we chase luxury and comfort and entertainment. It’s sad but by and large, it’s true. So when people suffer so often they suffer alone.
Bad things happen to good people and when they happen to us and when they happen to us we expect others to get around us to support us. But what about when those bad things happen to the people around us? Where are we then? It’s so easy for us to detach ourselves from the suffering and the needs of other people. We all do it, me included.
Let me tell you a story. I have one sister her name is Corrie. When she was young she did a Bachelor of Music degree and then travelled to Europe to study music. She was a brilliant pianist, quite brilliant. She toured and studied as a concert pianist. But in her early twenties, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I don’t know if you have had any experience of that disease but it is the most debilitating mental disease. I mean her life has been plagued ever since.
Firstly she is one very, very strong drugs which make her tired. She can’t work. Sometimes she hears voices and she suffers from a chronically underfunded health system. There is no support system really there for people who are dealing with this horrible disease of schizophrenia. Just the other day she tried to take her own life again by cutting her wrists. Now, this is the second or third time that this has happened.
You know the thing with schizophrenia, sometimes a schizophrenic will hear these voices and it’s just so real and so painful and so dangerous because many end up committing suicide. Then when those voices are gone and the drugs are being taken the person knows that they are missing out on life. A schizophrenic hasn’t lost their marbles, she is all there, she is a wonderful person.
She is never done anything wrong in her life and since she was twenty now she is forty-eight she has struggled with this thing. She spends most of her time lying on the bed because the drugs are so debilitating. She lives about two hours away and right now she is in hospital and I’ve found myself thinking, “I’m so busy I don’t have time to go down there again, I‘ve got programs to write and I’ve got things to do.” God said to me, “Whoa, did you just hear your thought?” Good point God, a very good point.
How easy is it for us to be detached from the pain and the suffering. Not only those whom we love but for people we know whom aren’t part of our family. Jesus takes this very seriously. He explained how one day He would be coming back. Now Jesus often told stories about Himself in the third person and refers to Himself the Son of Man. Listen to what he said:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from the goats and he will put the sheep at this right hand and the goats at his left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom that prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me. I was prison and you visited me.
Then those people will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it we saw you a stranger and welcomed you or naked and gave you clothing? And when was that we saw sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these you did it to me.’
And then he will say to the ones on his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepare for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me, naked and you didn’t clothe me, sick and in prison and you didn’t visit me. And they will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t take care of you?’
And he will answer, ‘Truly I tell you just as you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t to it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46).
Do you think he takes it seriously? He says when someone is hungry, feed them. When they are thirsty give them something to drink. When they are a stranger and feel on the outer, welcome them. When they need clothes, clothe them. When they are sick, care for them. When they are imprisoned, visit them. It’s so easy to over spiritualise this stuff. Anyone who says I believe in Jesus needs to have actions that match up with the belief.
It is so easy to be on one side of the world and say, “I’m going to meet the needs of the poor, I’m going to sponsor a child for $30 a month.” Now, don’t get me wrong I think that is a wonderful thing to do. But we can say right I’m sponsoring a child on the other side of the world for $30 a month, I have eased my conscious I am doing what I need to do.
Close your eyes for a minute. Who are the people in your life right now who have a need? Maybe in your family, maybe a parent from the local football club, maybe someone at work, maybe a neighbour. You see them every day or every week. Picture them. Who are the people right now in your life that need help?
The only reason that you are listening to my voice today is because, when something bad happened to me ten years ago a handful of Jesus follower’s people who had known me for years, they stepped forward into my life. They gave me somewhere to live. They gave me comfort. They welcomed me. They fed me. They cried with me. That stuff spoke more to me about the love of Jesus Christ than any sermon that anyone could preach any day of the week.
Wake up! When other people are hurting around us, when other people are hungry or thirsty, or alone or naked or sick or in prison. If we use Jesus name if we say I am a Christ-follower I am a Christian. Jesus says, “Look, go and meet their need.” There are no conditions on this there are no, “Well look if you have time, if you feel like it, if you feel motivated.”
Jesus said just do it. Just go and love them. When you go to that sick person and you visit them in the hospital, when you go to that neighbour who is in jail at the moment. do you notice he even talks about criminals? Go on love them.
You know that the people we have locked up ok they have done something wrong Jesus said if you know one go and visit them. It’s what I love about Jesus, He drags me out of my comfort zone, He challenges each one of us to live out the faith we have in Him. When we know someone who is in need, where are we? Are we on the right side or the left? Are we with the sheep or the goats? Do we touch Jesus and that person with our love or do we ignore them?