Week One - Karma
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Karma is a word that is used a lot in our current pop-culture. The westernized idea of Karma has become like most everything does in our culture - over simplified. Pop-culture karma means that whatever you do will come back to you at some point. If you are a good person, good things will happen. If you are a bad person, bad things will happen. In western culture eventually our religion, philosophy, political science, nature, humanity, civil justice all become things we park in our garage to show our friends or that we use to take for a spin every now and then.
The philosophy of Karma mentioned throughout hundreds of religious books and writings can be summarized by Isaac Newton's third law of motion - 'To every action, there shall always be an equal and opposite reaction'. If we extend this law beyond physics and apply it to our everyday life, it means that we have to face the outcomes of our deeds, good or bad. The actions take and choices we make every day will either bring happiness or sufferings into our life. Any wrongdoings will eventually turn around and cause us pain and grief. So, good deeds such as helping someone in need will leave you content and instill joy, happiness, and personal growth. To put it simply, we cannot escape from the consequences of our actions. This is the Karmic Law of the Universe, and everyone who believes it, believes that everyone is bound to it.
Isaac Newton's third law of motion - 'To every action, there shall always be an equal and opposite reaction'
The deeper concepts and principles of the word Karma originates from the ancient Southeast Asian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. As stated the term Karma connects actions and results, causes and effects. There are very clear differences in the eastern principles of Karma and the western ideas of Karma. The eastern principles are expressed this way.
The word “karma” means “action,” not “fate.” In Buddhism, karma is an energy created by willful action, through thoughts, words and deeds. We are all creating karma every minute, and the karma we create affects us every minute. It is common to think of “my karma” as something you did in your last life that seals your fate in this life, but this is not Buddhist understanding. Karma is an action, not a result. The future is not set in stone. You can change the course of your life right now by changing your volitional (intentional) acts and self-destructive patterns.” - Buddha Master
In the westernized idea of Karma it has become a fate based belief system of not only past lives, but subsequent or reincarnate lives as well. Good and bad happenings and outcomes experienced in this life are collective results of deeds and character in those previous lives. With western karma there is a circle or cycle of life - or you could just say, a recycle bin of life. As I said earlier, in western pop-culture there has evolved a significantly shallow sense of each person putting off good Karma and bad Karma. As well as a development of even more shallow expressions and understandings of the laws and principles of Reincarnation. In the west our religion, our philosophy, political science, views of nature, ideas of humanity, civil justice and much more have all become things we either rant about or that we park in our garage to show our friends when we want to take them for a spin every now and then.
According to the experts, people have embraced karma because it helps them to explain, accept, or process why something good or bad has happened. This is probably the most important aspect of the law of Karma for us to remember. As Christians we lose sight of the fact that people are deeply impacted by the good and bad circumstances and events of their lives - they want answers. Karma tells them “What we are now determines what we will be. If something negative happens to us, if, for example, we are in an accident or contract a serious illness, we need first to accept things and bear them with equanimity.”
The origins of Karma extracted from ancient texts of Hinduism and Buddhism intended and believed for much more than what has evolved. More than sayings like...
"What goes around comes around." Unknown
"Nobody deserves misery but sometimes it's just your turn." -Unknown
"Life is like a boomerang - doing bad things to others and karma is turning double back to you." - Anonymous
"Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion." - Dalai Lama XIV
"Sin makes its own hell, and goodness its own heaven." - Mary Baker Eddy
"Karma is the universe's way of letting you know that you just thought you got away with it." - Unknown
"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours." - Wayne Dyer
"Dear Karma, I have list of people you missed." - Unknown
"I'm going to sit back and laugh when Karma punches you in the face." - Anonymous
"Welcome to the Karma Cafe. There are no menus, you will get served what you deserve." - Unknown
“Do good things and good things happen. Do bad things and bad things happen.” - Earl
Karma - Christianity
Much of what you have heard about Karma today probably sounds fairly harmless and actually pretty practical. Hey, who doesn't want system of right-wrong / good-bad that self corrects and re-balances life in a fair or just way for everyone? So we can effectively clear the air and cleanly transition from non-truth to truth and biblical to non-biblical let me start with these statements.
Karma is not Christianity - Christianity is not Karma
The Mahayana Sutras and Rig Veda are not the Bible - The Bible is not the Mahayana Sutras or Rig Veda
Buddha or Brahman are not God - God is not Buddha or Brahman
Yet, admittedly the principles of Karma (even the westernized ones) do possess some similarities and commonality to Old and New Testament scriptures regarding the principles of "sowing and reaping" but we should be clear.
Being similar and having something in-common to the truth does not make it truth.
I am completely comfortable in a public forum in stating that the Bible contains the absolute Word of Truth, and is indeed the inspired Word of the one true God. I will not be marginalized or dismissed as a crazy Christian believer who does not have an intellect or enough of a competent understanding of world religion or secular ideology to "get it." Listen mate, I have been on my journey, i have read and studied anything worth reading and studying. Yes, I’m still traveling - but know this "I get it"!
It is a journey of faith not a journey of fate. It is not about revenge and retribution it is about repentance and relationship. Over the next six-weeks we will reveal the true principles of sowing and reaping though the lens of the truth of God's word. We will find the good and righteous path to keeping and honoring covenant relationship with God and the people we love the most in this life.