Good things that happen to us, and bad things that happen to us are not rewards and punishments from God.

Saturday, 10/26/13

With no football games to discuss in their time, Our Lord’s Apostles mostly jabbered on about terrible things happening around them. Like, a band of Jewish rebels from Galilee had conducted a raid on the Romans, then, they thought they had found a safe refuge in the inner part of the temple where Romans were forbidden to enter; but Pilate, ignoring his promise to honor temple sanctuary, sent his swordsmen in to cut down the Galileans as they made their offering at the altar.

Another conversation topic with the Apostles was about a tower under construction by the spring of Siloam. It had suddenly collapsed, taking eighteen workmen with it.

The general view of the Apostles was that God sent down death on the Galilean rebels and on the tower construction people. They believed God had punished those men for their sins.  

Having heard enough of that talk, Jesus interrupted, saying, “Do you think because these Galileans suffered in this way that they were greater sinners than other Galileans? Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower fell on them --- do you think they were more guilty than everyone else?” He went on to say we will all perish if we do not repent.

Those words of Jesus are telling us that God does not send us bad fortune to punish us, or good fortune to reward us. God does not interrupt the world’s natural flow of cause-and-effects to reward or punish us.

The Letter of James touches on God’s “hands off “ policy where it says, “No one experiencing temptation should say, ‘I am being tempted by God.  . . He himself tempts no one.’”  St. James went on to say that only “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”

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