Something you should know about karma

So it’s become REALLY popular to talk about karma in our culture. We hear about “bad karma” and “good karma.” I’ve heard people make threats like “karma is going to get you.” I even had one friend tell me that he believed in karma because it offered a sense of justice. I countered that karma seems like its about justice when we see the bad guys suffer, but it looks a lot different when the bad guys see you suffer.

You see, karma is more than classical “cause and effect” or “sowing and reaping.”  It is a fatalistic understanding of the “universe,” in that those who suffer deserve their suffering because of the evil they have done in the past.  Inversely those who prosper have earned their prosperity due to the good they have done in the past.  This is certainly more than “what goes around, comes around,” especially when it is applied children. I mean pause for a moment to think about kids suffering with leukemia.  Do they deserve that? Karma says they do. What about children born into poverty who die of preventable diseases? You see in some places around the world, a belief in karma enables people to pass by those who are suffering and call it “justice” for the sins committed in past lives.

If you haven’t guessed already, I don’t believe in karma.  But I serve a growing population of young people who do “believe” in karma, at least on a surface level.  Most when challenged to lay the blame somewhere for children with leukemia come up woefully short and hopefully abandon the scheme.  The problem is that it is marketed on the show’s they watch.  (Turn on the TV tonight, pick a random sitcom and see how long it takes for the word “Karma” to pop up… It will happen more often than you think.) And while marketed, it is often presented in terms of “what goes around, comes around.”

In a sense, karma IS about justice.  The real problem is when it crosses over to answering why injustice happens in the world.  The night I typed this, there was a man on the news who killed his kids.  Karma says he’ll get what is coming to him.  However, it also says that those kids got what was coming to them as well.  But then you have to ask, “What did they do?” A belief in karma indicates that they must have done something terrible in a previous life. Karma answers injustice by calling it justice for something done previously.  Ultimately in the system of Karma, injustice does not exist.  We all get what we deserve.

Does a man reap what he sows? … sometimes, but that isn’t karma.  That’s more like a law of nature, not of life.   If you mess with a bee you, you might get stung.  If you plant and cultivate and apple orchard, you might get apples.  But if someone attacks me for my apples, nobody is reaping what they sowed… It’s injustice.  Isn’t it about time that we put karma aside and look at true justice which comes from God the giver of life and the avenger of those who have been wronged. (Romans 12:19).

If you have a chance read John 9 where Jesus refutes his disciples understanding of karma.

Are You a Complainer or a Contender?

Many folks see a tragic story on the news, hear a bit of juicy gossip, or suffer a personal set back and their immediate reaction is to complain. I suppose that we are all welcome to our own opinions, but have you ever thought about the good that complaining NEVER does? I mean really where does complaining get us? I’m not saying, “Just shut up and accept it.” What I am really arguing for is instead of just wasting breath on powerless words why not do something about it? Get up off the couch and make a change. Be a contender for a cause.

Sometimes life can seem like a game of dodge ball, something is always being hurdled your way.  There are two ways to play the game. You can dodge everything that comes your way (and effectively save your own skin) or you can stare down your opponents who are throwing the ball and risk getting hit for a chance to catch the ball which will eliminate an opponent and bring someone back into the game from your team.

Complainers just grumble about all the stuff coming their way. They are Monday morning quarterbacks who can tell you every wrong move the coach or players made the day before, but could never play the game themselves.  Contenders take the same grievances that a complainer has and does something about it.  They volunteer, they participate in finding solutions, they petition their local government, they raise money for research, they blog to raise awareness, they passionately pursue avenues that will change the situation.  Contenders make a difference.

But be warned. Contending is far more tiring than just complaining.  It takes time and energy to volunteer, blog with a cause, start an organization, etc.  Just because you contend doesn’t mean that you will win in your lifetime. Some battles are bigger than others. Especially battles where real people are involved. Sometimes it takes generations to change (just think about where our nation was on slavery less than two centuries ago and civil rights 50 years ago).  However, being a contender does make a difference.  You may not change the tide of illiteracy in your local school this year, but you can make a difference in the life of one or two kids and for them it will be all the difference in the world.

Along with many avenues through my church, I’m also invested by volunteering in two of our local schools. In the elementary school I’m helping kids learn to read and I mentor at our middle school.  What about you?  Where are you contending to make a difference? Who are you helping to get back in the game?

Review: Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain


Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain: Uncovering the Hidden Potential in Life’s Most Common Struggles by Dr. Paul Meier and Dr. David L. Henderson is a great book  for readers who are looking to see a greater purpose in the painful moments of life.   Through out this book the authors challenge the reader to not seek a pain free existence, but rather to learn and grow through pain to see God’s greater purpose. Both authors share keen insights from both personal and clinical experience.

The book is divided into seven sections with four chapters each.  The sections include Injustice, Rejection, Loneliness, Loss, Discipline, Failure, and Death.  Each section is stand alone and the reader can jump ahead to a section without fear of having missed vital information in a section prior.

I appreciated authors’ writing styles.  The use of real life stories and examples helped to insure that this book was an easy read and never boring.  I enjoyed reading the keen insights from two brilliant men who have years of Biblical counseling experience in walking with people through pain.  The credibility of the authors, the easy to reference sectioning, and the readable style has guaranteed this book a spot on my shelf for years to come.


This is a very practical and readable book on pain and adversity.   Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain is an excellent resource. The retail price is $22.99 (Hardcover), and is available at places like for $16.55. I gave it four stars.

Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a free review copy from the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program  ( ).  There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.