If, as some suggest people are all ‘basically good’ why then, do some perform atrociously evil acts on others? Can we live in a way that prevents evil happening to us at the hands of another?

The presence of evil in our world is always disturbing. Tragedy surrounds us on every side. Whose fault is it? In the ancient world, unlike the modern, people were slow to attribute evil to the deity's carelessness or non-involvement. Certainly they believed in evil spiritual forces, but they assumed that tragedy generally reflects God's judgment for sin committed. If tragedy comes, responsibility lies with the person who experiences the tragedy.[1]

Jesus encountered his share of judgmental and fearful people. Many were quick to respond to crisis with blame. His response to blamers is well articulated in this passage:

Luke 13:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Two horrible events occurred. People were murdered at the Temple and a tower in Siloam collapsed killing 18 people.

Pilate had killed some Galileans who were at the Temple while sacrifices were being offered. Their blood was spilled in the place dedicated to worship. This kind of horrific event is not unlike parts of the world where extremists’ rush into churches and temples to kill the people gathered.

While popular thought in the ancient world would look to blame the ones who were victimized, Jesus strongly disagrees. No! Things happen that you cannot control or prevent.

Mortality is evidence of the presence of sin in our world. More important than the timing or cause of death is this: only repentance can change death from a tragic end into a bridge to a new kind of life. The event shows life's fragility. Disaster looms for the unresponsive.[2]

It begs the question—how do you think you will save yourself from something bad happening to end your life? You might eat healthy, exercise and get plenty of rest. Will that stop you from having an aneurysm or having a gas explosion in your house?

[1] The IVP New Testament Commentary Series
[2] The IVP New Testament Commentary Series