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It's not all bad news


Alice Harrison examines the concept of goodness and what it has to do with God

Why does a doctor risk their own life to treat people in a war zone?

NEWS bulletins often seem to be a list of one disaster after another. As we watch pictures of starving children, natural disasters or countries torn apart by war, it seems only reasonable that we should ask: why do these bad things happen?

But I would want to ask another question as well: why do good things happen?

I think it is much easier to answer the first question than the second. When we look at our world, we see selfishness and greed. Stronger nations take advantage of poorer nations, sometimes saddling them with unfair and unpayable debt. Then we see fights for control of governments, frontiers and valuable resources.

Meanwhile ordinary people, trying to live their everyday lives, suffer.

But it is not as easy to explain the good things that happen. Why does a doctor risk their own life to treat people in a war zone? What makes people leave the comfort of their home to rescue refugees? What moti­vates a person to put their own life on the line for the sake of another human being?

When we see these good things being done, could it be that we are seeing God at work? The Bible tells us: ‘We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:10 New International Version).

I know that not everyone who does good things would claim to have a faith in God, but Christians would believe that such people are, by their actions, fulfilling the purpose for which God made them. They are following one of the principal com­mands that Jesus gave people, to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12:31).

God works through people to show his goodness, even in the worst of situations. But we have a choice. God doesn’t impose his will on us. We are free to choose how we will respond to any event.

When people see our actions and ask, ‘Why did they do that?’ will it be because they are hurt by what we have done or because they are amazed at our willingness to put others before ourselves?

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