Judgment and Karma in the Bible

by Joshua Tilghman on March 13, 2013

In God  s Hand by HeroinForMyHeroine 262x300 Judgment and Karma in the BibleI was reading a blog post about karma this morning by Katinka Hesselink (linked here). I like Katinka’s simple explanation of this largely misunderstood concept. Check out what she has to say below:  

Somehow the law of Karma has people in all sorts of mental knots sometimes, so I thought I’d start out with the basics:

  • When you help someone today, they will be helped. You will get the blessings later.
  • When you hurt someone today, they will hurt. You will get similar problems later.
  • When you avoid negative actions today (murder, lying, stealing, sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse) – that may be tough today, but you will feel better later.

I don’t know about you, but I find that explanation extremely helpful. It also made me pause long enough to consider the true motivations for a lot of my personal endeavors.

But why am I mentioning this today? I’ve wanted to do a post about karma and the Bible for a while now, and Katinka’s simple explanation inspired me to get started.

There’s no doubt that karma is taught in the Bible, although you won’t find the word “karma” anywhere in its pages. But you can find mention of the law of sowing and reaping. That’s basically the same thing.

“…God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

“As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:8).

Simple enough, right? But I don’t want to focus on the terminology of sowing of reaping. I want to speak about judgment, because while it’s easy to connect karma with sowing and reaping, it isn’t so easy to understand how the essence of karma can also be found within the concept of Biblical judgment. The truth of the matter is that Biblical judgment, sowing and reaping, and karma all one in the same. And while judgment can sound scary, it’s shouldn’t be. We should actually learn to embrace it (more on why in a moment).

As humans we are all very familiar with judgment. If we’re honest with ourselves, I’m sure we could all remember a time we were judgmental. We could also remember being a victim of it as well. But how many of us have explored the many scriptures that elucidate a perspective on judgment that, when taken collectively, do not convey an outside source judging us for sins? In fact, it’s quite the opposite. God doesn’t judge. We do! Or at least we should. The scriptures make this plain.

We’ll begin with a statement from the Apostle Paul. Then we’ll explore other statements by Jesus on judgment and I’ll think you’ll be able to reconcile it with karma.

In 1 Corinthians 11:31 Paul states:

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

Before I subscribed to mysticism, I was surprised that Paul ever made such a statement.  Quite frankly, this doesn’t sound like Christian doctrine to me. Actually, it sounds more like something the Buddha or a Zen philosopher would say. Why? Because that statement puts all the responsibility on us. Notice how it doesn’t say, ‘If you believe on Jesus as Lord and savior, you should not be judged.” It simply implies that if we remain consciously aware of our own actions and their consequences, we can avoid judgment.

But what is this “judgment” Paul speaks of. I believe we can find out from the next verse.

 “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32).

Paul certainly isn’t referring to judgment after death, that final judgment that some Christians believe will take place to decide whether that soul will enter heaven or hell. He is specifically speaking of the here and now, in this life. That being the case, what does this judgment and chastisement look like? How is it applied?

Obviously this judgment is applied through the law of sowing and reaping (karma).

Jesus himself tells us this when he states:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:1-2).

If this isn’t karma, what is? Not only does Jesus say you’ll be judged if you judge, but you will receive proportionately that which you deal out.

Consider another point from Jesus:

 “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, hath one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47-48).

Jesus said it was the word that judges us. The Greek word used is logos. Logos is not doctrine. It is the divine expression, and it has everything to do with BEING itself. What you do to someone else will ultimately come back to you in some form or another because we are all connected through the web of the logos. We can even compare Jesus’ statement to the “Law of Attraction,” which proposes that whatever vibration of thoughts and feelings you put into the matrix of the universe shall be returned to you.

Many religious authorities would have us believe that an outside being will judge us for good or for evil. Personally I think this would defeat the entire purpose of growing up and maturing into loving beings. If we become consciously aware of our actions, taking full responsibility for our karma, we can truly begin to change the course of our lives. This is how we grow up spiritually. It’s also how we learn to truly love.

Ultimately, karma and judgment aren’t things to fear. They need to be embraced. This doesn’t mean that life will always be easy. In fact, it may hurt now. But as Katinka already told us, you will feel better later.

I remind you with Paul’s words once again:

“If we judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

Remember, this simply means to become consciously aware of your actions. If you do not, your own unconscious actions will judge you in the future. Isn’t it ironic? We aren’t judged by another being, but rather our own unconscious self!

Could life be anymore fair?


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