Skip to content

Skip to table of contents

3 Why Do Good People Suffer?

3 Why Do Good People Suffer?

Why It Matters

The fact that good people suffer goes against our sense of justice. It also suggests that there is little point in being good.

To Think About

Some people believe that humans experience a cycle of death and rebirth. They say that those who committed good deeds are reborn into favorable circumstances, whereas those who committed bad deeds are reborn into a life of hardship. According to that belief, even a good person can suffer if he committed bad deeds in a “past life.” However . . .

  • What purpose would such suffering serve, since the person supposedly reborn does not even recall his past life?

  • Why do we work hard to stay healthy and avoid accidents if our well-being is largely determined by what we did in a past life?


    Watch the video Why Does God Allow Suffering? on

What the Bible Says

Suffering is not punishment from God.

On the contrary, much of it is random​—often, a matter of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“The swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all.”​ECCLESIASTES 9:11.

Our sinful nature contributes to suffering.

People often use the word “sin” to refer to a bad act that someone commits. However, the Bible also uses it to describe a condition that all humans​—good and bad—​have inherited.

“I was born guilty of error, and sinful from the moment my mother conceived me.”​PSALM 51:5, Footnote.

Sin has had a devastating effect on humans.

It has not only damaged our relationship with our Creator but also put us out of harmony with the rest of God’s creation. That has resulted in enormous suffering, both to individuals and to the human race as a whole.

“When I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me.”​ROMANS 7:21.

“All creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together.”​ROMANS 8:22.