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This post is Part 2 in a 3-part blog series on good and bad. (If you missed the first post, you can find it here.) Last time I talked about how there can be some pretty big problems with the things we consider ‘good,’ especially if we put too much importance on those things in our lives. In this post, I’d like to talk about the other side of the coin—how we can find the good in the bad?

When something bad happens, such as losing a job, getting diagnosed with cancer, or going through a divorce, it’s easy to get down and depressed. Life is difficult, and bad things happen to everyone, irrespective of your race, religion, how much money you make, or where you live. When these kinds of things happen, what good can come of it?

I think there are two main ways to find the good in the bad. First, sometimes going through difficult circumstances can develop your character and help you grow. The apostle Paul talks about this in his letter to the church in Rome. We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4). An entire field of research in psychology focuses on posttraumatic growth, which involves positive change that occurs following the struggle with a major life crisis or traumatic event.

Second, going through difficult circumstances can help you connect with others and build relationships, especially with others who are going through something similar. Getting in touch with your own struggle, pain, and brokenness makes you more real. Being vulnerable about your struggles helps you to connect with others, especially those who are struggling themselves.

As you are struggling and working through the ‘bad’ in your life, it’s a good idea to stay curious and keep your eyes open for what good might come out of it.

Discussion: What good things have you seen come out of bad circumstances in your own life?

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