When you hear the word Karma, what comes to your mind? Happy revengeful thoughts? Hands rubbing together with glee because someone who deserves pay back is finally getting what they deserve? Does it give you a warm glow, a satisfied feeling? I think almost all of us would say a resounding YES!! Is there anything better than watching a movie, and seeing the bad guy get his comeuppance? The cheater in a relationship get caught? A speeder that gets busted? A murderer who has gotten away with it for years finally gets caught due to DNA? Deep in our hearts, we want the bad guy to lose. We want the cheater exposed. We want the jerk driver pulled over. We want the murderer arrested. It satisfies our need for vengeance. What is Karma? Karma is a belief that all of your actions will have equal repercussions, affecting you. It is also described as “what goes around, comes around.” This is absolutely true. As a Christian, I know that karma is simply “do unto others as you would have done unto you” – Mathew 7:12. This is one of God’s laws. If you want to receive kindness, you need to be kind. If you behave rudely to others, others will be rude to you. Truly – whatever behavior or actions you dish out, it will return to you. You may not see karma happen right away, but rest assured, it will happen!
IS KARMA REVENGE? GETTING EVEN
When someone hurts us, we want revenge. We want to strike back. We want that person to feel the same pain we felt. We want them to pay a price for hurting us. I’ve heard the expression so many times I can’t even count – “Karma is a Bitch!”, “Karma is going to come and bite you in the ass”, and “Karma never loses an address”. We gleefully wait for the other person to “get it!” Sometimes though, the perpetrator of pain doesn’t get what is coming to them right away. Sometimes it seems like they have gotten away with it, and get to carry on with little or no consequences. This makes us angry, which in turn makes us sick. Anger is so insidious. We truly have no idea of how poisonous anger is. It becomes a root that gets buried deeper and deeper over time, especially if there is no resolution, or “karma” that we can see. Anger and hatred towards someone who hurt us will only continue to poison us, not the perpetrator. Some people will forgive, and they will be able to carry on and have healthy and meaningful relationships. Some people will stay angry, bitter, and twisted in their determination to get even – and they spend their whole life watching and waiting for “karma.” What those people don’t realize is that they are only damaging themselves. Revenge is not a healthy life option, it will only destroy. God can handle your revenge for you, leave it up to him. Romans 12:19 (NIV Version) says “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Sounds good to me! I’m sure God has a better way of dealing with it than I ever could. Besides, if I choose to forgive and leave it to God, it is no longer in my head, controlling my thoughts or my actions. And now that person has to contend with God. OUCH!
DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS
There is another commandment in the bible that goes along with the golden rule. It is found in Mathew 7:1 (NIV version)“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Often times we make judgements against others, and desperately want to see karma show up in their lives. I have to admit that I find it incredibly easy to judge others. It becomes easy to chat with my husband about other people, and their habits that I feel are bad, and dare I say it – many times it’s my own friends and family. But guess what. If you keep judging others, what happens is that you end up doing the very thing that you are gossiping about. Yikes. I am raising my hand here – I am guilty of this. I thankfully only complain to my husband, but even that is not healthy. I am repenting right now, and I’m going to work hard at not doing this anymore. It’s easier to point fingers at others bad habits, rather than focus on the glaring obvious ones in my own life. EEK! And another reminder with an extra twist: if you can’t say anything nice behind someone’s back, DON’T SAY IT AT ALL! Just because you have a thought in your head doesn’t mean you have to say it, or share it out loud with someone. (I need this reminder, seriously!) Leave it inside your head. We all need to keep our negative thoughts to ourselves. Since we can’t do anything about it, we need to let it go, and stop putting our expectations onto someone else. Live for yourself only! Our rules and the way we would do something doesn’t mean someone else has to conform to our standards. Let each person be their own individual, with their own choices. For the love of our friends and family, we need to keep our negative and judgmental thoughts to ourselves. <your knuckles have been rapped Donna!> I give my hubby permission to hold me accountable the next time I start complaining about someone else’s behavior that is nothing to do with me.
POSITIVE KARMA – TREAT OTHERS KINDLY
I’ve written about this before – that you can choose ahead of time how to react when someone hurts you. Instead of staying angry and letting that adrenaline rush take over your brain, you can learn to calm yourself, and stay rational. In my early twenties, I used to get so angry and fly off the handle and yell, as that was what was modelled for me growing up. Yikes. Thankfully I didn’t carry on with that destructive behavior for long. We usually behave in ways that we learned as kids, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for our behavior once we have grown up. We are capable of learning how to react when things happen to us that hurt us. There are multiple things daily that cause frustration in our homes or at work, so I would suggest to go through a typical day, and make a list of things that make you mad, or set you off. It might be clothes on the floor, the toilet seat left up, the dog not taken for a walk, the lights left on in an empty room, or it could be work related things. Whatever your trigger is, realize it’s going to happen daily, (or at least sometime during the week) and come up with a plan on how to react when it does happen. That way you won’t resort to yelling. How you react to someone causing you pain is YOUR karma.
ITS ONLY A THOUGHT
What you choose to focus on starts as a thought in your head. Guess what. It’s only a thought. What you choose to think about, and what you choose to dwell on will shape the course of your life. If you can be flexible, you will learn how to make changes as life bumps along. Nothing stays the same, change is inevitable. You grow up, move out, perhaps get married, buy a house, and have kids. Then it’s the empty nest. Change change change. Now, along that bumpy road from moving out to being in our golden years, things happen. Pain happens. Love happens. Shit happens. Giggles happen. Abuse happens. Vacations happen. Moves happen. Death happens. Life is not always chocolate chip cookies, roses and puppies. How you choose to focus your thoughts will determine if you can live your life with joy and happiness, or anger, and frustration, desperately wishing for karma to strike people down. What you choose to focus on starts as one thought. When people are mean and rude to you, let God have revenge. When people let you down, tell them, and forgive them instead of hanging on to anger. Choose your thoughts carefully. Your thoughts can lead to life, or they can lead to death. The best part about thoughts is that you can change them at a moment’s notice. You can train your brain to not go over and over and over an old offence. Forgive, and let it go. Refuse to allow old pain to resurface. Give it a try, Remember, you are, after all, the boss, and only YOU can change your thoughts. I challenge you to forgive someone today!
TWO TYPES OF KARMA
What do you think of the poster above? Do you agree with it? I do believe that when we have done something wrong, we DO need to learn from it. We DO need to be able to admit our mistakes, and make it right. We DO need to ask for forgiveness. If we never self-reflect, and take a good long hard look at our behavior, we may remain stuck our whole lives. I also believe that we DO keep getting the same lesson over and over again, until we learn it. Sometimes we win, other times we lose. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it though – we just need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try, try again. Karma does bring us lessons. Doing unto others as we would have done unto us is the golden rule. We may not always obey that rule, but at least it’s something we can strive to do. We also need to work at not judging others for not behaving in ways we think they should. Allow good karma into your life by being kind, and by forgiving others their offences against us. Thank goodness that God always forgives us, and thank goodness that he rebukes us and teaches us so that we learn the lesson.
Stay positive – no matter what other people do to you, or what they say to you, or about you. Don’t take it personally. That’s the best advice I could give you. Hurting people hurt others. Nothing that other people do is because of you, it is because of themselves. Learn from the hurt, instead of getting buried in it up to your neck. One of my favourite sayings is “change your thoughts, change your life!”
A quote from Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it. Don’t complain.”
I think we too easily fall into the complaint cupboard. We whine and whinge to all our friends about what has been done to us. I had one friend whom I hadn’t seen in around four years. When we finally got together, all she could talk about was how someone in her family had hurt her with their remarks. I had heard this story before – four years earlier. Obviously she was still stuck in her pain, and had not forgiven this family member for the hurt. It’s so incredibly sad. Four years of pain and anguish later and you’re still talking about it to others as if it happened yesterday? It’s time to forgive and let that go. It takes time to work through pain, yes, but re-living painful events over and over to anyone who will listen will not heal it. Only forgiveness heals, along with time. Pain is not all equal. We do not all react the same way to pain. An insult to you might make you angry, but an insult to me might make me laugh. The point is – what we DO all have in common is that we alone are in charge of our thoughts, and WE get to choose how to react to pain. So – make some wise choices. And what is a wise choice? Choosing to forgive, and letting go of that hurt, so it cannot sting you again. You may not be able to make that choice at first, it takes some steady practicing to be able to let go of hurts. Of course hurt can happen on a daily basis, so don’t worry, you’ll have lots of time to practice. Just train your brain. Just as you had to learn how to tell time, and learn how to tie your shoelaces, you can LEARN to train your brain not to stay angry or carry grudges. You can boss your brain around and tell it to forgive, and do it whether you feel like it or not. Remember, you should be making decisions with your brain and your will, NOT your emotions. They will always be unreliable.
DON’T TRY TO RECRUIT OTHERS TO YOUR PAIN KARMA
Those who are stuck in unforgiveness will often tell their stories over and over again for several reasons, and none of them are healthy. When we spew out our anger and revenge towards someone, we are consciously or unconsciously trying to get the person to hate that person just as much as we do. We want them to come along side us, and say, “They definitely need to get what’s coming to them!” Because we are stuck and being held hostage by our emotions due to the pain, we are now in a permanent victim mentality. This is never healthy. It’s like being stuck on the ICU ward in the hospital – isolated, and in danger of dying. This is what unresolved anger does to you. So – for those of you who are still actively looking for karma for someone who hurt you – stop. Take care of yourself first. Take care of your own health, and GET YOURSELF OUT OF THE ICU ward. How? By forgiving. Choose to forgive right now, and let go of the disease that is throttling you and choking you to death. That’s what anger/vengeance/revenge is. It’s DEATH. Let it go. Forgive TODAY!
KEEP YOUR CIRCLE POSITIVE
I love this. What goes around, comes around, so keep your circle positive! How refreshing! We can’t be perfect all the time, we are definitely going to mess up on some days. Ah well, as long as we choose our thoughts and try to remain positive, we should be okay! We can’t be positive every moment of every day, that is unreasonable, but what we CAN do is strive to always be kind, even when someone hurts us, instead of lashing out to get even. And when we mess up? Apologize, and move on. And if we really need karma to happen to someone? Don’t worry, it will. God has you covered.