Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

When Crap Befalls Decent Folk

Whenever I hear of a story like I did today about the seven-year-old dying in his sleep, I always go back to Harold Kushner’s classic “When Bad Things Happen To Good People.”

Now, remind me again, good Rabbi, why does crap befall decent folk?

The compassionate author, who grieved the loss of his son Aaron, uses the Book of Job to present his case on how suffering happens. Most readers of Job want to believe three things: that God is all-powerful, that God is just and fair, and that Job is a good person.

But those things can’t all be true. Not for the book to make sense.


Kushner believes that God neither causes nor prevents tragedies, that He is not able to prevent suffering, and so thus is not all-powerful.

However, God gives us the strength and the perseverance to overcome whatever crap flies our way (those are my words). And that’s really the answer. Because what is is what is. (Did Clinton say that?)

Kushner explains it better:

“In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people translates itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened.

“Are you capable of forgiving and accepting in love a world which has disappointed you by not being perfect, a world in which there is so much unfairness and cruelty, disease and crime, earthquake and accident? Can you forgive its imperfections and love it because it is capable of containing great beauty and goodness, and because it is the only world we have?


“And if you can do these things, will you be able to recognize that the ability to forgive and the ability to love are the weapons God has given us to enable us to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in this less-than-perfect world?”

Listen to Kushner’s reflections on the question, “Can We Forgive God?” by clicking here.

  • http://HASH(0xce84894) Briana Wodoslawsky

    I loved his book and even wrote a paper on it! It gives you such a sense of calm and it make life easier to understand the way he puts it : )

  • http://HASH(0xce85860) Kate

    No I guess Ican’t forgive. Ive had crap all my life. I was told I was an accident. Well I guess I was a big huge accident and never should have been born. Thats the way I look at it. Why did God put me on this earth except to torture me and have me live every day by wishing that I wasn’t alive?? No matter what therapist psychiatrist or medication I will never get over the terrible things that have happened in my life, especially the physical and mental anguish I face everyday. No wonder I drink myself half to death.

  • http://HASH(0xce8714c) melinda

    Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. Psalm 36:5,6

  • http://HASH(0xce87b94) Linda

    I don’t know the answer to this question exactly…Why does crap happen to decent people….but having studied some Buddhism, it has told me that it is Karma. Not that something I did yesterday is biting me in the butt to day, but it could be some things I did in a previous lifetime. Whether one believes that or not, Busshism offers ways to get yourself out of the suffering by ways of purification (mantras, etc..) and meditation. Buddhism offers many meditations (Loving-Kindness meditation is one) that help. I, unfortunatly, have gotten off track with my Buddhism practice, and am now in a VERY bad spot with depression..trying to get myself back on track…like I once was and at that time was at the best point in my life. When I got off track, all the CRAP started to happen. Something you might want to look into.

  • http://HASH(0xce88970) Teresa. u.k.

    Not only was i a mistake, i was the wrong sex. But now i realise it says more about my mother than me. We all do the best with what we’re given. Mine is improving.There’s hope for us all. {thats official}

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