The Golden Rule sits at the heart of many of the world’s religions and philosophies. But until Jesus Christ the rule was generally stated in the negative—do not treat others in a way that you do not want to be treated. In effect, this rule flows out of the idea of karma.
In our society we think we should be able to do whatever we desire as long as it supposedly does not harm others. And we think that if we are unjust and bring pain to someone else we should keep a hard hat on; karma is on the lookout for us. When someone “gets away” with a wrong action we believe that somewhere down the road the offender will get what’s coming. Sadly, it is not just the world at large that thinks this way; too many Christians do as well.
Jesus Christ not only desires for us to refrain from wrong and hurtful action, he commands us to live in a righteous manner. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you (Matthew 5:43-46)?
What this means is that in this age of karma, Jesus Christ thrusts grace front and center. Grace means that we do what is right and even go above and beyond the call of duty. And when we do those actions they are noble, righteous, beautiful and truly good; like God. Our actions are God-like, because this is the way He has acted toward us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).”
Our sins demanded karma, justice, damnation; our sins demand that we should perish. But in grace God reaches out to us in Christ and says “Although your sins make you my enemy, I do not wish you harm, instead I desire to forgive you and offer you everlasting life (Romans 5:6-11). If we sinners were without grace the cost of karma would mean our perishing forever. Karma cannot accept when Christ said on the cross, “It is finished (John 19:30).” Karma must punish; love and grace must offer forgiveness.
Too many people in the world embrace karma when they should embrace Christ. Karma tells the world to do no harm. Christ tells us to “love one another; as I have loved you (John 13:34).” And sometimes the world treats grace as an insult unless grace becomes tolerant of sin. Jesus loved the sinner but he also said “Go and sin no more (John 8:11).” Karma says we need to affirm people. Grace says we need to love them and offer them redemption.
But what about those people who reject God’s offer of grace and forgiveness? Scripture says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).” And, “the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).” As they say, karma’s a bitch. So which would you choose karma or Christ?