Flying back from California this weekend, I ended up sitting beside a lady with lots of interesting thoughts and questions about religion in general and Christianity in particular. Why did Christ have to die for our sins anyway? Is the Bible reliable? Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene and was there some huge Knight’s Templar cover up (a-la Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code)? She was also a great listener. Sharing with her about how I see God got me excited all over again about His great love for us. At one point she mentioned she believed that it all could be summed up with the idea of Karma… “What you do come’s back to you. You do good and good comes back to you.”
I’ve heard this before and as far as every other religion is concerned, even parts of what is called Christianity, I think this is an accurate description of how things are seen to work. But it hit me in a new way this time and made me think how absolutely, COMPLETELY different true Christianity is from Karma.
First of all, the whole point of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we DON’T get what we deserve. We make mistakes and we sin against God but instead of punishing us for the bad we do God offers to forgive us, make us part of His family, and give us eternal life through his son. And none of this is because of anything we have done to deserve it, it is a free gift.
But what struck me on the plane and what we ended up talking about comes at it from another angle. What happens to people who are completely committed to God? What happened to Jesus, the only man to live an absolutely perfect life? If you look at the many people in the bible who trust God and follow him you don’t find Karma at work; you actually find the opposite. What’s going on here, why do the people who walk most closely with God seem to suffer so much?
In 1 Peter 2:19 Paul condones suffering, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.”
In Colossians 1:24 he says about himself, “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
What we have in Christianity that is so different is a God who loves us so deeply that He willing chose to suffer by giving up His Son to correct the wrongs in the world so that He could punish sin to the fullest extent and still have a relationship with us. We have Jesus who willing chose to suffer by leaving His eternal place beside His Father to becoming a human and suffer though a regular guy’s life. He submitted Himself to being misjudged, humiliated, and wronged by people (people that He created) to the point of death on a cross. And we have the Holy Spirit who willingly serves the Father and Son and comes to live in us when we ask Jesus to come into our lives.
So do you see it now…The people who walk most closely with God become more and more like Him. And the kind of God we have chooses to willing suffer to right the wrongs of this world. If you are looking for Karma in Christianity it is simply not there. If you are looking to do a few good things and then live a simple undisturbed life you won’t find that option in Christianity.
The heart of a Christian beats with the pulse of God’s heart to restore this world for His glory. The mature disciple of Christ begins to desire to join the team of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in sacrificing and graciously putting our lives and comforts on the line for the sake of the Kingdom of God. After all that is what our Daddy-God has done for us.