karma

“He got what was coming to him.”

“You just wait, Karma’s gonna get her.”

“Yo dude, don’t do that.  It’s bad karma don’t you know?”

Karma.  Interesting idea.  It’s origins actually come from Buddism and Hinduism with the idea that a supreme being has control of cause and effect of everything.  Today’s politically correct citizen may credit “the universe” or even God.  It’s  original intent is not about punishment or retribution, but consequences of actions – whether good or bad.  “You reap what you sow” mentality.  There is much truth in it, yet when you get down to really thinking about it… it’s really stupid and immature if you ask me.

Let me explain like this.  If I do a good deed, if I’m one to believe in something like Karma then I will expect something good to happen in return.  If I do something “bad” (bad being determined by the belief system in my head), I fear for what will happen to me in return.  If someone does something bad to me (bad again determined by the belief system in my head, not necessarily theirs), I take comfort in the judgment karma will be bringing to their lives in the near future.

But here lies the problem:

What if I do good and horrible things happen to me?  What if a dear one dies?  I get fired because of a misunderstanding that wasn’t my fault?  I get dumped by my significant other?  I get in a car accident?

or..

The person who maliciously hurt me (the one I expected karma to repay) gets the promotion I deserved?  Moves on and finds an amazing relationship?  Wins the lottery?  Finds great success despite a shady lifestyle?

Where is karma in all of that?!  Like I said, it’s a stupid idea.

The truth is that “the sun rises and sets on the good AND the evil”.   Good things happen to people who hardly deserve it and sometimes really awful things happen to people who give nothing but their best time and again.  it’s true that sowing and reaping often plays in the favor of those who sow good things.  They are bound to see the good fruit of their efforts at some point.  I believe it.  But this type of thinking will mess with your brain if you hold to it tightly.  When the universe throws you a bone when all you’ve been is “good”, bitterness isn’t far off.  Despair, feeling less than worthy, confusion, frustration, anger, resentment… these are only some of of the emotions that will take root inside your soul raging through your body like poison.

You’ve worked so hard.  You deserve that job, not them.  He wasn’t supposed to leave you high and dry with the kids only to find a younger woman he’s incredibly happy with.   How did they get to have kids when you’ve been trying for years?!  They’re not even good parents!  Toxic thoughts will invade your mind and consume you.  The good that was once inside has been replaced.

You need something far greater to sustain you in times when it feels all your good works have done nothing but get you stomped on.  Karma is not your friend.  It’s a doorway to poisonous thoughts if it doesn’t treat you the way you were expecting.

Then along comes Jesus.  I gotta say, I’m a fan.  He doesn’t guarantee if you work your ass off you’re going to always get rewarded in the way you expect.  No, His message is different, almost hard to hear.  It goes against every ounce of self.  It’s an invitation into a life far greater than what you see here and now.

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. (Luke 6:27-30)

There is no karma message in that.  In fact, it’s the exact opposite.  It states that yes you will have enemies despite the good you do.  It says there may just be a time when something you love is stolen.  And love who?  Let them do what??  You want me to do what?!  Live generously.  Use the occasion to practice the servant life.  I’m not sure if you noticed, but the focus goes entirely off our own desires and dives us into a journey of denial of our rights.  What’s mind blowing to me is that it was modelled best by the one who spoke it.  Jesus Himself walked this, breathed it, lived it.  When faced with angry mobs, He didn’t lash out or wish them ill intent.  He withheld, kept silent and only prayed for their forgiveness.

The very character we wish for our lives is created in love expressed through sacrifice, not karma-type thinking.  It speaks of the opportunity for us to walk a higher road.  It teaches us the true meaning of love.  Karma only goes so far.  A life of sacrifice gives way to a rich road of love, virtue, and depth of character that can never be stolen.  In the end, the one who walks this way gains life at it’s fullest.

Isn’t that what we were looking for in the first place?