When Karma Meets Christ

12 Feb


Photo by paevar on Morgue File.

This just in: let’s pretend that science has proven that karma is a thing. Your words and actions will influence what happens to you in the future. How (if at all) will you change your ways?

While I do not believe in karma per se, I do believe our actions affect our lives. As one has said, the choices you make dictate the lives you lead. While life is not always as easy as, do good, get good; do bad, get bad, there is truth, I think, in reaping what you sow.

Now, we all know up front that life is not fair. In fact, sometimes it is suspiciously unfair. We see it in the faces of those who have run short on luck, so to speak; on the long faces of the downtrodden, those who have hit rock bottom. We hear it in questions, such as: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer? Why do the corrupt seem to be rewarded? And on and on we could go. 

The lament over this seeming unfairness is nothing new of course. When one peruses the pages of the book of Psalms, one encounters this very sentiment several times over. There, the psalmist questions why the wicked or evil seem to prosper, while the righteous suffers? Why is it the evil person seems to have everything they need, and then some, but the righteous person struggles just to provide for what he or she needs?

These questions call into question larger issues like the justice of God and the meaning and purpose of life. It is wrong to think that just because a person does good things, tries to live life the right way, that this means they will experience nothing but smooth sailing in life. The choices we make have more to do with the development of our character than with the fairness of life.

The bible does teach that a person will reap what they sow (Galatians 6.7-9). The idea is, of course, a horticultural one. If I, this spring, plant carrots in a particular row, then I can expect to see carrots growing in that row. It would be odd to plant carrots in the row and then see cabbage growing there! When you plant a garden you expect to reap what you sow; that is, you expect to harvest the veggies you plant.

Yet, there is no guarantee in the bible that if you live right then everything will turn out roses for you. In fact, the bible is replete with stories of exactly the opposite. Not to say that this is the norm, obviously the bible is also witness to those who lived a righteous life and received blessings for it. The thing is, there is no guarantee. It is not a magic trick we hold over God’s head to make him bless us and make us successful in life.

We live our lives righteously because that is what Christ commands of us. In short, we do it because we are to obey our Lord, for its own sake; not for the sake of blessings and gifts.

However, the bible also teaches that for those who strive toward godliness and live Christlike, they will receive a reward. As Christians, we must remember, as the bible so often reminds us, this life is not the end; this life is not all there is. While this life may be filled with pain and suffering, there is a new life, one we already share in as believers in Christ, but which will ultimately come at the resurrection. We are part of a new creation that will be cemented in the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.

Jesus himself promised us tribulation in this life. That is not to say this life is all bad or miserable; it does not have to be. At the same time, there are those who endure incredible amounts of pain in this life. The great promise of our Father is that such things will not always be so. We, as Christ followers, have a hope . . . Christ is our hope and our destiny.

I live life in order to please Christ and bring honor to him. I am not perfect. I deserve far worse than I have received. But, in the end, our sights are to be on pleasing and serving him, allowing Christ to take care of the rest.


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18 responses to “When Karma Meets Christ

  1. beautyfromwithin2out

    February 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Hi there, do you really think the reference to Galatians is a gardening one? 😉

    • Timothy Murray

      February 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

      No, I was pointing out the reference in Galatians is based on horticulture; in other words, this is the image Paul is using to teach a lesson on life.

  2. jackbarrowuk

    February 26, 2014 at 3:54 am

    How about living a good life because it is the right thing to do, not because you are commanded to do so? Internalise the responsibility.

    • Timothy Murray

      March 2, 2014 at 8:12 am

      I find I internalize best when I live in obedience to God.

      • jackbarrowuk

        March 2, 2014 at 8:22 am

        But surely God’s external by his very nature and by defining your ability to live a good life as only in obedience to God you are implying that you could never be good on your own. Wouldn’t God want you to be a good person because you wanted to be, not just because he told you to?

      • Timothy Murray

        March 2, 2014 at 8:35 am

        You are right. I am implying that on my own I cannot be good. The bible makes it clear that apart from God’s grace in my life, I will never be a “good” person; not by God’s standards. Left to myself I am a sinner; a rebel against God and his law. I may, by man’s standards, live a good life, love my kids, be kind and charitable . . . etc.; but, by God’s standard I am unclean and undone. What is good within me, compared to his standard, is what has been imputed to me through the vicarious death and triumphant resurrection of Christ. Therefore, I live in obedience, not out of a sense of drudgery; but rather, a sense of gratitude and heart-felt service and admiration to the One who saved and raised me from the death of my sins and rebellion. By living in obedience and open fellowship with Christ, I realize and appropriate his life and work more and more in my own.
        Yes, by his nature, I would agree he is external. But, through the new covenant ratified by the life,death and resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit now resides within me (and all believers).

      • jackbarrowuk

        March 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

        And thus you condemn all others. Possibility the most damaging thing I’ve heard in a long time, destined to generate nothing but division and conflict when the thing we need is the very opposite.

      • Timothy Murray

        March 2, 2014 at 8:57 am

        No, I am condemning no one. I appreciate our difference of opinion. But, I also believe the veracity of the bible. I agree with you that it is not pleasant news. I agree it goes against what we hope and think of ourselves. But, there is a reason the Gospel of Christ is called the “gospel” or “good news”. For one to truly appreciate the “good news” we must first accept the bad news.
        Jesus taught that we are condemned already. In fact, there is no division here: we are all unified in our sinful nature. Whether we be western or eastern, black or white, this religion or that.
        Damaging? Yes. Damaging to our pride and hubris. Damaging to our notion that we can meet God’s standards on our own. No doubt, it is not an easy pill to swallow.
        Conflict is a good word and I think it is appropriate. But the conflict is not between our fellow humanity; rather, according to Christianity the conflict is between God and humanity. Simply, humanity has gone wrong. But, God in grace and love, has set out, through Christ, to make it right.
        I do appreciate the dialogue and conversation. I appreciate your passion and concern for your fellow humanity.


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