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.