Bad times are not evidence that God is punishing me

In Jesus’ day there was a common belief that whatever misfortunes people experienced were a punishment for sin.  The more a person suffered, the greater his or her sin must have been! Jesus rejected this simplistic notion. Instead, he emphasised repentance, which means a turning towards God and toward one’s neighbour. As always, Jesus tells us not only to look outward, but also to look in; he is concerned with what is going on in our heads and in our hearts. He wants us to ask ourselves how God is opening us to compassion, prompting us to repentance, and leading us to life.

Excerpted from Sacred Space: A Little Book of Encouragement edited by Vinita Hampton Wright (p. 136)