Friday, August 16, 2013

Theological Mistakes: "Everything Happens For A Reason" -- Mark Krause at Krause Korner

Grief should be comforted, not rationalized.

When someone's loved one dies, what do you say to those left behind? When someone is suffering a life altering loss or debilitating situation, what do you say to them upon learning about it?  We often want to give words of comfort, but our desire to do this can often cause more damage than comfort.

It is not helpful to tell a son whose father just died, "This is God's plan, so it's for the best."  There are many trite variations on this cliche, but the idea is that God either allowed or caused the death.  It's the pseudo-theological variation of the pop psychology statement "Everything happens for a reason."  What people usually mean is "Everything happens for a good reason," the implication being that something good always comes out of tragedy.

This is NOT a Christian idea, despite the fact that this pseudo-theology seems to have a Biblical patina.

How does this play out in real life to the unfortunate recipient or such words in a time of tragedy?  Is there comfort to be found in "Everything happens for a reason" and (somehow suggesting that the person undergoing their own personal hell on earth is doing so because it is what God wants?)

I don't think so.

If you are in a position to offer words of comfort to someone grieving loss of ANY kind, I would suggest that you walk with that person in their grief instead of dismissing it.  (Remember  "Jesus wept?")

The full article is available here