This school year I am involved with teaching the yewts at our church during Sunday mornings. The older I get, the less I know that I know, but the few things I do know, I know that I know. Since I want to give these kids something they can hang onto, I am careful to only talk about what I know that I know. (Y’know?) Which is why the overriding theme of my lessons this year is “Karma vs Grace”.
It is my contention that the entire world operates with a belief in karma. Not the academic kind of karma, (one of the kids in the class actually knew the official Hindu definition), but the generic kind of “you get what you give” kind of karma. We expect fairness, scream bloody murder when we don’t get it, hold our leaders and public officials to it, and want it applied to greedy industrialists. I am not different.
What I find most troubling is that most Xians think that is how God operates. It is my contention that God is out of the karma business. I think he exited that business when Jesus pronounced “it is finished” from the cross. God doesn’t operate an accounting business where he is busy balancing the books. Rather, He is the head of a family, and He actively loves His children; their behavior has zero impact on His love for them. This is grace.
Grace is offensive to our sense of justice and our belief in fairness. Worst of all, grace means God has no taste. If grace really is God’s M.O., then it means we are loved by Him not because of what do, not in spite of what we do, but simply because we are loved by Him. There is not a thing we can do about it. What we can do is either enjoy the benefits of His love, or not enjoy them.
I believe in grace, 200 proof, undiluted, delivered full blast from the fire hose. I know for a fact it makes people uncomfortable. People do not want grace, they want karma. Most people want to live in a world where they are rewarded for their good deeds because most people believe they “do enough good” to balance the scales of karma in their favor. The idea that God no longer uses scales is even more offensive than the idea that they might not be doing enough good.