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Berdine's Corner

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

by Kenney Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

Berdine Dillard Dennard

A few weeks ago my neighbor who was close to my age passed. Nearly every time someone dies, the sentiment heard most is, "He/She was such a good person!" Sometimes that's just something to say to make the family feel good, then other times it is an absolute true statement. In my neighbors case, it was the truth. Throughout my 5-6 years knowing him I had sat out on the porch and just kicked it with him many times, I had him drop me off at the airport a few times and had even had him come help me when I had car trouble on the highway once. Throughout those years I had never known him to get upset, down talk anyone or even raise his voice in anger. As I thought about that during the funeral I pondered how many people that truly know me can say that. Then I asked myself a question that I've heard before; Why do bad things happen to good people. In this case, bad for me meant death.

I had pondered that question repeatedly a few years ago after my mother, Berdine Dennard passed. I realize that only God can truly answer that question but in the aftermath of my mom's death I have come up with answers that have comforted me.

I believe sometimes the Lord uses our love ones to get our attention. My Grandmother, Mother and Uncle died right behind each other in a span of 5 years. Each of them, in their own way, were backbones of our family. They all were major reasons the extended family got together on Sundays and holidays. All either had to do was say, "I'm going to spend my holiday at this place," and in most cases the rest of the family would follow.

They all also demanded respect. They didn't accept a lot of foolishness around them and most of us checked ourselves at the door before going around them. If we met at Uncle Lee’s house for Christmas no one brought alcohol. If you did, you hid and drank it outside. I can't recall anyone walking in my mother's house with a bottle of alcohol. My grandmother allowed it but she would talk about you so bad if it got out of hand that not many tried it. You didn't curse around either of them.

Although I believe each of them had their flaws I believe if you went down the list with each family member they had the least. Each would be in church nearly every Sunday. If you wanted to see them on Sunday, you went to church or met them afterwards where they were going to ask, "Why weren't you in church?" I believe each had truly genuine spirits and tried to live their lives according to what the Lord wanted. But yet and still, each of them got sick with Cancer and in a few months were gone.

So why do bad things happen to good people?

It is to my belief that sometimes the Lord want our undivided attention. I believe the Lord had each of their attention. But those around them had our focus on other things. I believe The Lord want us to want to come to church because we want to do right by Him and not because we are trying to do right by others. He want us to have pure spirits as well and cleanse those unGodly things and nasty mouths out; not to please others but to please Him. The Lord says Himself in Exodus 20: 4-5 that He is a Jealous God. It is to my belief that He knew these three were good and were going to make it to heaven but in order for those around them to make it we had to get closer to Him, not them. We have to live our life trying to please Him, not them.

Death is not a punishment, but a transition. It's only bad if you are bad and don't know where you will spend eternity. Those good people that have passed are in the midst of a transition. They're good. We are the ones in the balance. We are the ones that need to get right. In many cases, we are the bad ones. We all have to get right, try to be good like some of our examples that are in the transition so those behind us can ask the same question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" about us. Only it won’t be bad for us either.

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