What Causes Good People To Do Bad Things?

You may wonder why good people sometimes do bad things. It may be that they believe what they are doing is really what needs to be done. Or, one’s sinful nature is not controlled and some acts of that nature are hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, envy and others.

It all starts at birth when we have been given a conscience. It doesn’t take long before we become aware of what is right and what is wrong. We then learn from those who surround us. Our conscience can be swayed to believe whatever we are seeing or learn from others. We can become morally corrupt or morally honest. If we were raised by parents who were addicted and possibly in prison from time to time we could have a conscience that anything goes. It is also possible to be raised by religious fanatics or zealots. Our conscience or our spirit determines what options we take throughout life.

The Bible tells us that once we reach maturity we will be judged by God as being under His law. This requires living by many of the laws given in the first five books of the Bible under the Old Covenant. We are also told that on our own it is impossible to do. However, through Christ we have been given a choice to accept Him as our Savior and be freed from the law and live under the New Covenant of grace. It requires that we allow our conscience or spirit to surrender to the old ways and allow it to become reprogrammed to the love of God. This means the old nature of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, envy and others die out and be changed to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as described in Galatians 5:22. We are no longer motivated by the fear of the law that enslaved us but motivated by the love of God that frees us.

Why, after a person has accepted Christ and repented, do they continue to do things that they know are wrong, sinful and possibly evil? The conscience does not completely die out and reverts to previous conditions. However, you cannot disobey God and not suffer the consequence.

As a store manager I was told that at least 25% of our employees would steal from us if they had the chance. It would amaze me when a key person was caught stealing and had to be terminated. I wondered what would make someone risk a good paying job for a few dollars. This is what I learned:

Many have a poor or weak self-image. People feeling worthy and secure don’t normally do things that are unethical. People with poor self-images may have a real need for acceptance and do things because everyone else seems to be doing it and getting away with it. They react to whatever environment they are in. Some will do whatever is necessary to receive bigger bonuses and feel justified in doing so. Others will do what they feel must be done to get a promotion. In the minds of good people they seem to be able to rationalize and justify their actions.

Many people try to live a moral, good and honest life. However, Scripture says the only way this can be done is by following Christ and live as He taught. We must be connected into Christ for our nourishment. If not we could be missing the special gifts that He has available for us. We are told we cannot, in most situations, live a holy and righteous life in our own strength. It requires the Holy Spirit. We are told without the Spirit we can do nothing. It is not possible to live a Christian life on our own. There are millions who have proved this Scripture to be true.

Unfortunately, not everyone who accepts the Holy Spirit accepts Him without reservations and conditions. Many believers are not willing to stop living as the world lives. And this includes the workplace. We receive the Holy Spirit but are unwilling to allow Him control over our lives. When the Holy Spirit checks us, too often we ignore Him, for what He’s bringing to our attention that needs changing interferes with our lifestyles. When we want something, we deliberately do not pray about it because we don’t want to be told no.

RECAP: Lately if you have been listening to many sermons you will find ministers are emphasizing how much God loves us and they are trying to help us improve our self-worth. As Christians, God adopts us into His family and treats us as one of His children. Do you see God as a good or bad parent? Do you see yourself as a “black sheep” of the family? We must all allow the Holy Spirit to change our nature to being positive and acceptable. If we can allow our conscience to be reprogrammed and develop a relationship with Christ that we believe is acceptable, we should not need to be doing bad things regardless what others are doing.

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