Thursday, February 7, 2008
Grace v. Karma
I am heavily burdened. Ever since a certain idea has been proposed, I have felt conflicted and unsure, but through that I know that God is speaking and working in my life. Last night I went to small group and enjoyed fellowship with other families from the church. We have been going through Andy Stanley's "It came from within" series, a series about our hearts. Last night the topic was anger and how it affects our lives and relationships. The main verse he used was Ephesians 4:26-27. "Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger, and don't give the devil any opportunity" (CSB). Andy basically said that it is a good principle to go by literally, as in don't go to bed angry, but he also said don't let the sun go down on a season in your life while carrying anger. He talked about showing grace to others and how that heals not only them, but also yourself. Then this morning I went to the campus ministry that I am apart of at the 9th grade and the topic was on forgiveness. How when someone has hurt you, you are called to forgive them. The example was Corrie Ten Boom and her forgiving the concentration camp guard. Next, I get to my office to prepare for youth group on sunday night and the talk that I have to give is on karma vs grace. I have come to understand that the idea of karma has infiltrated my life. Although I say I don't believe in it, I choose to live my life in a way that undercuts what I say. Karma feels good...people getting what they deserve. People hurt me, they have a bad time. People not doing what they should, they have a bad time. Karma allows me to hold onto what I see as injustices performed against me. Karma says I am entitled to my anger and entitled to keep my forgiveness and grace from others. Karma makes me think I feel better that way. God says that is not the truth. God sent his Son to revolutionize the way we treat and think about others. He came to show us how to forgive. In fact, he committed the ultimate act of forgiveness and grace. And yet, I have such a hard time. Jesus said, "If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, won't he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go and search for the stray? And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep more than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray" Matt 18:12-13. If that were karma, the one sheep would have gotten what it deserved- getting stuck out in the wilderness alone and defenseless. That would have been me, so who am I to withhold grace from someone else. No matter how much it pains me and no matter how entitled the world says I am to withhold it, I am called to a higher standard. I am not saying that I am there yet, but that is what God has been teaching me in the last day and a half or so.