Sunday Morning Musings: More than once this week I have heard someone questioning the reasons why something terrible has happened, either to someone they may have known or to themselves. The question I have heard is similar to the one that asks: What have I ever done to deserve this?
The father of the man arrested after a driving rampage in Toronto that killed and injured many was overheard apologizing for his son’s actions. A commentator attempted to reassure the listening audience that the sins of the son were not visited on the father, despite the scriptural reference used that states that those sins are visited on our children. Personally, I have to agree with the person who feels that the father was not responsible for his son’s actions.
Then there was the case of a mother who was raising three children who needed support and wonder what she had done that was preventing her from receiving help.
As I mused about these situations, I also thought about the phrase or adage that reminds us that “what goes around comes around”. At first, I thought this to mean the same as getting as good as one gives. That is to say, if I am kind and caring, I receive the same. Some have even used the idea of “karma” when attempting to describe why things happen to us, good or bad.
A simple response in these types of situations could be to suggest that there are always exceptions to the rule, or maybe everyone has to assume some responsibility for what happened. No doubt there is an endless amount of blame to go around. Some would even go so far as to blame “the big guy upstairs” for isn’t that what we are really saying when we say that the sins of the father are visited on the son; that we wonder what we have done to deserve something bad happening in our lives. I have even heard it said that “God never gives us anything we can’t handle”.
It would seem that I have just given justification to those who would tell me this is the reason they no longer believe in God. While at the same time I have given ammunition to those who would remind me that Jesus died for our sins and the only reason one is being punished (by God?) is because they haven’t yet made a proper confession or profession. (Talk about keeping both sides happy!)
It is never my intent to support either view. The God of my faith does not punish us for any reason. The God of my faith is not capable of punishment, or judgement in this life or any other life. When we choose to live and act in love, in compassion, we act with God-presence. The vast majority of those who respond to tragic events (those on a massive scale or those on a more personal level) respond because of the need that exists. Rather than seeking to discover the “why” these terrible things have happened, we need to seek and find ways to let others see that our response is one of love, or being a real sense of “God-presence”.
It is time we open ourselves to a deeper understanding of the one called “creator”, or any other name. We open ourselves to an understanding that believes in the goodness (the godness) of life, especially in the face of that which is hurtful and harmful.