Posts Tagged ‘what is karma?’

Solution that isn't 6.14Our culture loves to toss the word “karma” around. I see it referenced in newspaper columns, online blogs and conversations at coffee shops.

But is it really the solution to anything, as this internet graphic suggests?

Yes, there is a certain logic to karma, which Wikipedia defines as “the universal principle of cause and effect. Our actions, good and bad, come back to us in the future, helping us to learn from life’s lessons and become better people.”

From the perspective of a follower of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God), there’s even some evidence to support it. One of Jesus’ earliest followers wrote: What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

But is that karma? No. A faith research website (www.carm.org) explains the difference: “The law of karma, which makes morality like a law of nature, does not allow for the possibility of forgiveness.  Its consequences are inevitable and inescapable. Because God is personal, and because persons can forgive, God can forgive us of our sins.  Moreover, He has done so through Jesus.”

So, will karma solve anything? Not for me. I don’t want to be locked in a prison of cause and effect. And I don’t want karma to take the place of revenge.

Serious Jesus followers know and try their best to follow this directive, written by one of the ancient prophets: Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbour as yourself.

Do we fall short of that directive? Without a doubt. But now you know the ideal Jesus followers strive for. And you know more about God — the only being truly worthy of judging us for the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do.

If you’re like me, you’ll admit that the ledger of wrong things done and right things not done is pretty long.

But there’s a way out — a way that karma will never offer you. That way is Jesus. He is God’s gift of love to anyone who is willing to accept that gift.

When you accept that gift and declare yourself a follower of Jesus, then you also believe that when He was put to death on a Roman cross, He took on the moral crimes of everyone who calls him saviour.

As a result of that, when God looks at a follower of Jesus, all He sees is the perfection Jesus bought for us. We are as pure as Jesus.

However, please note: That’s not a free pass to do whatever you like and cynically rely on Jesus to clean up the resulting mess. If you take that gift of love seriously, you’ll want to be with other Jesus followers, building each other up, holding each other accountable and allowing God to do amazing things in your life.

Does this sound interesting? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Do you believe in karma like the person who created this internet meme? Most people in our culture probably do, even if they don’t realize it. And that’s no surprise; a majority of us are brought up to understand that what we do (or don’t do) will be paid back.

In fact, I imagine many parents slip into teaching this kind of thing, if only as a desperate measure to keep little Johnny from running wild in the grocery store.

But the first thing I thought when I read that ‘billboard’ was “Yikes!” I don’t want to get what I deserve. And when it comes right down to it, I suspect you don’t, either.

Our culture may tell us we’re all OK people, but think about it:

  • Do you really give as much time/finances to charity as you should? I don’t.
  • Are you really, really committed to telling the truth? I like to think I am, but the truth is different, despite my best efforts.
  • When the name of someone you know comes up in conversation, do you jump in by revealing something negative about them? I’ve caught myself doing just that.
  • Do you fall short on doing all that you really can do for the environment? I plead guilty.
  • When you think carefully about your behaviour, do you find there are times when you’ve taken out your frustrations on others? I have.

I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve gotten the point. None of us are really as “good” as we should be. All of us regularly miss the mark on being the kind of person we could be.

So, do you want to get called on the carpet for all the bad things you’ve done – and all the good things you HAVEN’T done? I don’t. And that’s just one little reason why I decided to become follow Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is the Son of God.

Jesus followers believe this statement, found in one of the original source documents about Jesus’ life on Earth: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost, but have eternal life.”

In other words, when you believe that Jesus died to make up for all your screw-ups and when you decide to trust your life to him, there is no more karma. You no longer get what you deserve. You get way, WAY better.

In fact, not only can you get a sense of what one of Jesus’s original followers called a peace that goes beyond your ability to understand it, you also receive assurance that that when this life is over, you’ll spend eternity hanging out with Jesus.

This sounds like a fabulous offer. Do you agree? Post a comment and let’s start a conversation.

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