Why do bad things happen to good people? This is probably one of the most common questions I am both asked and that I also read about. I want to both answer this question and also confront something we are all guilty of and that is the fact that we tend to gloss over horrible events. When we read about terrible events such as rape we will admit it is horrible and then move on. The problem is the victim can’t so easily forgot.
When talking to people who have went through horrible events I will often hear a common statement, “What happened to me was meaningless.” The reality is that these events do have meaning, we just don’t want to believe it. If an event was truly meaningless, it would have no affect on people. Rape victims will go so far as to become promiscuous in order to try and make what happened to them meaningless. What we all need to embrace is the fact that corrupt events are not meaningless, they have the most important meaning of all, they are an indication of a problem.
Very few would say to a rape victim, “Thank you for your sacrifice, you have brought to light that corruption still exists and hopefully the power of this event can help change the world for the better.” Our entire culture is backwards. We worship those who gain happiness and success, and dismiss those who have been broken. We should worship those who have went through all forms of suffering; we have no problem doing it with soldiers but when it comes to rape victims we avoid it. Instead we pity them or express how horrible it is that something so bad happened to them, as if they didn’t know, and we indirectly degrade them as people. Everyone around them change for an event they had no control over. In our lack of understanding, some people will go so far as to blame them, but this is all wrong.
When a child burns them self on a hot stove, who do we blame? Do we blame the heat, the ignorance, or the child? Do we blame the pain that brought the child suffering? No, instead we realize that the pain was a necessary part of learning. What we try to do is teach the children not to touch hot stoves before they actually do it. In the same way horrible events represent the pain of society; events that are necessary but can be avoided.
Bad things happen to good people because in our current state they are our only guidance to escape all suffering. However, in order for us to prevent them from happening in the future we must all realize that bad events are not meaningless and that, in fact, they are very important. It is imperative we pay attention to when bad events happen so that we can better prevent them from happening in the future. We cannot not dismiss bad events as just something that happened in the past.