Total forgiveness: Don’t blame God (Week 3)

June 14, 2018

The Counseling Corner

By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.Th

This month, this column is looking at “Forgiveness” and especially emphasizing a Spiritual Enrichment Women’s Retreat sponsored by the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Milwaukee. The overall theme was: “Godly Women Forgive Totally.” Tammy Porter, the retreat’s coordinator, expounded about why some people blame God for bad situations.

Natural disasters and extreme weather such as drought, storms, wildfires, and floods are affecting people around the globe. We are just six months into 2018 and already we have seen disasters. Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano has erupted dramatically after a 5.0 magnitude quake causing lava to spew into a residential subdivision. The entire island of Puerto Rico lost power again in April 2018, just 210 days after its grid first collapsed during Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

As human tragedies continue to darken our landscape, many unbelievers grapple with the issue of suffering and ask: if God truly exists, then why are there so many natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, mudslides, dam failures, volcano eruptions, tornadoes, and earthquakes? Why do bad things happen to good people, and for that matter, why do bad things happen at all? Where is God while all of this is happening? These and other reasonable questions anticipate reasonable answers. They often cut deep into the heart of the Christian faith and challenge its very foundation. Disasters, crises and suffering often prompts the skeptic to argue: (1) there is no good purpose for suffering and pain; and (2) an all good God must have a good purpose for everything so there cannot be an all good God. Unfortunately, we cannot always give an answer that satisfies the souls of those who hurt and make sense of their pain. However, there are those who use suffering as a reason to deny God’s existence, love, or goodness, or even to blame God.

As we consider the skeptic’s arguments, first we need to make a distinction. There is a difference between our knowing the purpose for suffering and God having a purpose for it. Even if we don’t know God’s purpose, He may still have a good reason for allowing suffering in our lives. Therefore, we cannot assume that there is no good purpose for something just because we don’t know what it could be.

Secondly, we must not ignore the presence of sin in this world introduced to the human race in the Garden of Eden by the person who first sinned, Lucifer, renamed Satan. (Isa. 14:12-15, cf. Ez. 28:11-15.) Sin arises from the abuse of moral freedom and can be blamed for the corrosion of morals, spiritual deprivation, the decline of values and godly principles, and including, but not limited to, the presence of pain and suffering in this world.

Sis. Porter made it clear; before we blame God, we need to understand why there is so much suffering in our world.

Next Week: Self-Forgiveness

The writer does not assume responsibility or liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred in any way for readers’ efforts to apply, rely or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.