"You get what you deserve."
"What goes around comes around."
Maybe we've heard people say these things, or even thought them ourselves. There's some satisfaction when a wrongdoer gets some of his own medicine... "he got what was coming to him."
But when we are the guilty ones -- when we have done wrong to others -- there's nothing sweeter than hearing the words, "I forgive you." There's nothing sweeter than NOT getting what we deserve, whether it's judgment or punishment.
When was the last time you experienced forgiveness from somebody? What was it like for you?
Or when have you known you were accepted for who you were, with all of your mistakes and shortcomings? That someone didn't love you because you were "good enough," but unconditionally?
This is what is called "grace," compared to a sense that we receive good or bad things because we have done enough good or bad in the world ("karma"). Many of us have experienced this grace from our parents, because they loved us before we were even able to do anything at all to earn their love.
Not all of us were raised in a loving household, and some of us wear the scars from not receiving the love and acceptance we needed. Many of us still struggle with receiving grace, and we want to try and earn acceptance and love from people and God by working harder and proving our worth.
But Jesus Christ taught that God is our Heavenly Father who has always been there, even when our families and friends have failed or disappointed us. God values our relationship with us more than anything we've done to put strain on it. Like a loving parent, God offers us an unconditional love that will transform our lives.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy."
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Grace over Karma
How does this fit into the bigger picture? What might this mean for my life?
We want to be forgiven
But it’s so hard to forgive
Standards shift like the tide
In and out
Back and forth
Predictable double standard
When it responds to my gravitational pull
Judge, jury, executioner
How can the damned damn?
Hoping for security in the midst of chaos
Our sense of control only ever just a sense
Erratically pulling the tide this way and that
The forgiven forgive
It’s an acquired taste
A cardinal rule
The great moon truly in control
Charting a course we could never really follow
Steadying the tide
Freeing the damned
Defying the odds
When it responds to Him