Monday, 10 January 2011

Jesus and Karma

Christ on Karma

I’m sure everyone knows someone who, whenever some tragedy happens, instantly reacts with something along the lines of ‘they must have been really bad for THAT to happen to them’.  The idea that many have is that good things happen go good people, and bad things happen to bad people.  It’s only fair.

Isn’t it?

Nearly two thousand years ago some Jews came to Jesus with the same idea:

“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."”
Luke 13:1-5

In another incident his disciples asked him whose sin was responsible for a man’s blindness from birth.  Was it his sin, charged against him before he committed it?  Or was it his parent’s wrong?  Jesus answers them clearly:

“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:3

So we clearly see from the teaching of Jesus that karma has nothing to do with it.  Jesus is having none of this false doctrine.  However, there are always some people who cling to their idea despite Jesus’ teachings to the contrary.  And so, I propose a test.

Karma on Christ

Let us see if karma works.  If it does, surely someone who lived a perfect life would have nothing bad happen to them.  You know, someone like Jesus, he was perfect – what happened to him?  Well he was abandoned by his friends and family, rejected by his people, spat upon, beaten, scourged and mocked.  “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, although He was innocent of crime”.  The only perfect man who ever lived was crucified in agony.

Karma.  Jesus.  They don’t mix.

Much ado about nothing?

What’s the big deal?  No Christian really believes in karma anyway, right?  Besides, it’s not like it really matters – all karma does is make people be nice to each other. What’s the problem?

The problem is that it’s wrong.
The problem is the reason WHY Jesus suffered.
The problem is that karma contradicts and replaces grace.

Karma is all about good things for good people, paid for by their good works.  It’s all about bad things for bad people.
Grace is good things for bad people, paid for by a bad thing happening to the one good person that ever lived.

I am a sinner; I have rejected God and rebelled against his authority.  Every single day I commit treason against the king of kings.  I deserve death.  Note that Jesus didn’t say that the people in Siloam didn’t deserve death; He said that nobody else deserved life.  I certainly don’t, none of us do and every single day we need to be thankful for one thing.  We need to rejoice in one glorious truth.

God doesn’t do karma.

<<Funny how everything I write turns into grace, normally without starting out with that intention.  I’m slowly learning that the reason I can’t write about anything but grace is because there isn’t.  Grace isn’t a part of my faith, Grace IS my faith.
Note that this post is not to say that there isn’t justice, one day there will be.  But for not there is patience and mercy, for now there is the chance to accept God’s grace.  One day there will be judgement, and on that day only grace will stand up to the strength of God’s fury at our sinfulness.
Thanks to Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church for inspiring this post>>

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