Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Why do bad things happen to good people? A while ago, my 14-years old daughter asked me this question. The question certainly brings me back to years ago when I was in college and my mother just died from lung cancer.

Even though years have passed, I still think that it’s one of the most interesting and popular questions we, humans, have ever asked.

First, for me, it’s interesting because it’s one of the questions where there could be more than one correct answer. If you’ve read my article about being a good writer, you would know that I don’t believe in a single truth and single answer. However, not just the answer(s), the question itself is also interesting to be explored further.

Without further ado, let’s get deeper.


Different Answers from Different Perspectives

Why do bad things happen to good people? If you’re religious, the answer could be very simple. Everything happens for a reason. God works in mysterious ways. The universe conspires to make it happen. Also, you could choose any other equivalent transcendent answer. I’m not saying it’s wrong. Maybe it’s correct. One thing I know for sure is that I know nothing.

However, statistically, bad things are just inevitable. I mean there are tons of bad things happening in this world every day. So, as long as we live, there will always be a chance for bad things to happen to us, despite us being good or bad.

Whether you realized it or not, those bad things work on a massive scale. Maybe for mass casualty events, like floods, earthquakes, or pandemics, it’s easier to imagine how statistics play a big role in why bad things happen to us.

How about other bad things that are seemingly personal, like my mother’s lung cancer? I think statistics could answer it too. If you take a look further, it’s happening around the world. I mean millions of people who have cancer. According to worldwide cancer data, there were an estimated 18.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2020. Chances are, it could happen to any of us.

Furthermore, many bad things have nothing to do with us as the victims or casualties. For example, earthquakes happen because the ground is subjected to so much force that it fractures or breaks. I don’t think physics could differentiate between a murderer, a priest, or a corporate slave either. Sure, there are so many reasons why mass shootings, robberies, rapes, or any other horrible crimes happen. However, the deciding factor is the perpetrators – not the victims.

Check out my other article: An Inquiry: What is the Most Valuable Resource?


How about the question?

Why do bad things happen to good people? As I said earlier, the question itself is interesting to be explored further.

Most people want to believe that there is some sort of a karmic system in this life. “You reap what you sow,” they said. I think that’s the reason why this question exists. However, sometimes it’s not the case. Sometimes, we just have bad luck and that’s okay. Maybe you need to hear this, so let me say it: It’s not your fault. Most of the time, life is just unfair.

However, it’s also not healthy to just keep blaming our bad luck. Life owes us nothing too.

In real life, there is no clear cut between black and white. Most of them are just grey. Most likely, the definition of good and bad also depends on certain perspectives. For example, a corrupt politician is definitely bad. However, he could also be a great father. A great artist could inspire so many people but he abuses his wife, which is awful. Sure, for the unemployed, being fired is bad. Yet, it could be good for the employer since he needs to cut costs.

As we discussed earlier too, there are different types of bad things. As with any other adjective, “bad” is subjective. Your laptop suddenly died is bad but so is having your girlfriend cheated on you. Losing our parents is dreadful but so does being robbed.

When I first pondered the question years ago, it gave me solace. Because, I no longer had to dwell in a rabbit hole with a question like, “why did this happen to me?” I just hope it could give you the same benefit reading this.

However, just in case you don’t, you could always return back to the first answer I mentioned. Hahaha…

Feature Image: Julia Mourão Missagia via Pexels

Yabes Elia

Yabes Elia

An empath, a jolly writer, a patient reader & listener, a data observer, and a stoic mentor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.