Should Christians believe in karma? I have heard some Christians say that it is the same concept as sowing and reaping that the Bible teaches. But, is it really the same? Today I will explain why Christians should not believe in karma, or even use it as a figure of speech. Our words are powerful, and though we may mean it in jest, we must be aware of what we are speaking forth.
I hear quite regularly from people who consider themselves to be followers of Christ comments like:
“Well that’s karma for ya.”
“She had that coming.”
“Karma is a @$&*#”
What is Karma?
Karma is a principle of Buddhism and Hinduism stating that the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, decide their fate in the future, or future existences. An informal definition, might simplify it down to say that for each action there is an equal reaction. For example karma says, if you slapped an innocent person in the face, the same sort of incident, or “negative” action would happen to you. A negative action, when you are innocent. OR on the other hand, you gave water to a thirsty person when you didn’t have to, then you would have something “good” happen to you.
The Bible teaches the believer through many agricultural illustrations. One such illustration is the concept of sowing and reaping. Essentially what you plant, you will reap a harvest of it. We see this through scriptures such as Matthew 13, Galatians 6:7-9, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, as well as others. Sowing and reaping sounds similar to karma doesn’t it? While, the Biblical concept of sowing and reaping may sound similar, it actually has a few differences that make a major difference in the theologies.
What’s the difference?
There are a few things that a believer has to understand about the principle of sowing and reaping.
- You may sow, and reap a harvest 30, 60, or even 100 fold from what you planted. This means you may actually get way more than what you sowed or “deserved.”
- You may actually sow and get very little to nothing in return. How many times have you done a “good deed” with no return? We should not do our good deeds based on what we will get back. In understanding agriculture, you must realize that many factors come into play: moisture, soil makeup, temperatures, pests, etc. that can affect what kind of return you get. It really isn’t as simple as plant and harvest, do and get.
- “He causes His sun to rise on theevil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” – Matthew 5:45 Just because you are “good” doesn’t mean that bad things will not happen to you, or vice versa. Good and bad things will happen to all of us. You may not always “get what you deserve” whether that is good or bad.
- Finally, you may harvest in a place where you never sowed. There are stories in the Bible where men reaped, in a way that they never sowed. An example today would be of a child with a poor work ethic, lack of education, etc receiving an inheritance that they never worked for.
The trump card
As a believer there is what I would call a trump card to karma, and that goes by a 5-letter title called GRACE. Grace provides for the believer the replacement for what we “deserve.” If you believe in karma as a believer, you completely nullify God’s grace in your own life, as well as being lived out through your life to others.
One example might be if you were speeding down the highway and get pulled over. You deserve a ticket correct? You broke the law, therefore you deserve a ticket, but instead the officer let’s you off with a warning or even simply a verbal warning. This is grace in action, which nullifies karma.
When someone does you harm, Christ calls us to 1. Turn the other cheek, and 2. To forgive them 70×7 times. This is living out grace in your life. When people mess up, you show them grace. When we say “they will get what they deserve” we completely nullify God’s grace.
If you are a believer I highly encourage you to no longer adhere to the tenants of karma, but rather live by the power of grace. I know it is a “figure of speech” that is highly popular these days, but as a follower of Christ you should not believe in karma. Change your thinking, change your speech, and it will change your understanding of God’s grace to us.
When was a time that you experienced grace in your life, and didn’t get what you deserved; or you had a greater harvest than you “should” have? Let me know in the comments below.