We're getting ready to study John:31-36 . . .
Do you know what "karma" is? Have you heard the term used?
Karma is a human concept, and a really super concise definition would be "you get what you deserve."
People say they had "good karma" or "bad karma" on a certain day, or in a certain situation. It's all based on this concept.
If you have done some good things, then you're going to be rewarded with good things. In contrast, if you have done some bad things, watch out! You're going to have to pay!
Every world religion is based upon that basic idea, right? Even the Bible teaches it, doesn't it? Let's see now . . ."Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."
There is one REALLY BIG difference between this karma concept and the teachings of Jesus.
Other religions tell you that you can work off your bad karma. You can get rid of it. How? You do enough good to outweigh the bad stuff.
It's kinda like that scales up there in the picture. Let's say you do some bad stuff (that would go on one side; just lay it there in the tray) and your life is out of balance. Hmmmm, need to do some good things (yep, lay them on the other tray) to get things balanced again. Now, the more bad you do, the more good it takes to balance the scale, right?
OK, we can see a couple of problems here. If we do too many bad, evil things, we might not ever be able to balance things up. Religions like Islam and others have problems this way, because they are placing a lot of their hope in getting to heaven, on how much good stuff they can do. Most of them would admit that they are never totally convinced that they've done enough good to tip the scales away from the bad they've done. In fact, some faiths like Hinduism and Buddhism have reconciled their beliefs that we're not going to be able to balance out our bad deeds in one life, so they teach reincarnation: you have another life (or two, or three) to pay off those bad deeds and get to heaven.
The other problem with karma is that the bad stuff is never cleared out from the tray. You simply put more good stuff on the other side . . . well, if we keep putting more and more in both trays, we're running the risk of breaking the scales! If we rely too heavily on balancing the scales, we can load them down so much that they break. There is just too much weight on the scales, and the human conscience can't handle it. It can literally cripple someone mentally, and it often does. Many people deal with the overwhelming weight of guilt and shame each and every day. They try to use many ways of escape, but it's no use. It will be there when you wake up, when the high wears off, when the hangover hits, etc.
So, Karma really doesn't work. It can't solve the problem, because it doesn't deal with the root.
Kinda like going out into the garden and using a hoe. You can chop off the green and growing part of a weed and you will be rid of it for a short time. But the root is still there, and soon, the weed is green and growing again.
Now, if you use the hoe to dig a little deeper, and destroy the root of the weed (have to tell you, that cranks my tractor when I'm getting that done in the garden!) then the weed won't return.
In the same way, if we deal with the roots of our problems (sin) we can be assured that they won't cripple us in the future.
Karma can't do that.
We'll resume with this on Wednesday.