"A man reaps what he sows."
- New Testament, Galatians 6:7
In fact, it would be hard to find a more succinct way of explaining the Law of Karma, than this concise phrase: "A man reaps what he sows." And of course what Jesus was saying is that "how we treat others now, will determine what happens to us in the future". If we are kind to others, kind things will happen to us. If we are unkind, then unkind things will happen to us. It is important to realize that the divine purpose of karma is not punishment, (which only suppresses behavior, but doesn't change people's hearts). Instead, karma is a way of learning from direct experience how it feels to undergo various kinds of painful experiences (like having something stolen from us; being lied to; and so on), so that we never, ever again want any one else to go through such painful experiences. Thus, only people who are deliberately hurting others in these various ways are subject to the correspondingly appropriate karmic lessons.
"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more." Mark 4:24 (NIV)
A very graphic example of Jesus' teaching on the Law of Karma occurred when he is being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Peter tries to protect Jesus with his sword. Jesus stops him and says:
"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword, will die by the sword." Matt 6:52 (NIV)
In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, the Law of Karma is succinctly expressed as:
"An Eye For an Eye, a Tooth For a Tooth"
This phrase meant that if we deliberately hurt another, then we will be hurt in the same way, either later in our present life or in a future life. For example, if someone deliberately pokes another person's eye out, then in the future life they will have to experience what it is like to be blind so that they can feel deeply in their hearts that no one should have to go through such an experience. And as result of this experience they now wouldn't dream of doing something like that to another. Unfortunately, as time went on, people lost sight of this original meaning and began to misinterpret it as a spiritual justification for revenge. In other words, they erroneously thought it meant that if someone hurts us, it's okay to hurt them back in the same way. The complete opposite of its real meaning!
We might ask ourselves when we are suffering in someway, if this always means it's a karmic lesson of some sort. And the answer is that even though we can learn and grow from all kinds of suffering, it doesn't necessarily mean that what we're going through is karmic. In fact, a significant percentage of human suffering is actually innocent people who don't need to be going through a karmic lesson of that kind. So it's important not to be judgmental towards ourselves or others who are suffering, because we don't know whether we or not it is karmic. And of course it's always important to have compassion for all people who are suffering, including ourselves, regardless of whether it might be karmic or not, and try to help them if that seems appropriate. So it's still crucial to follow Jesus' teaching, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7) It's also helpful to remember that even if we are innocent and suffering unjustly, suffering deepens our capacity for compassion and in the end makes us stronger and more courageous, even though we might not notice it in this lifetime.
Also, sometimes kind, compassionate, selfless souls will volunteer to come into lifetimes where they know they're going to be unfairly treated and suffer a lot of pain in order to help those they care deeply about. This might be to help individual family members or it might be on a larger scale such as helping an entire community or group of people or even the world. Many saintly people often volunteer for such lives in which they unfairly suffer greatly while they are helping others. Obviously Jesus' life was one of these on a Cosmic Scale.
Click here for more insights on the concept of "Karma".
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