Think of a time when you've gotten what you deserved? Did you like it or not? What if you were given the choice to only get what you deserve or to get nothing that you deserved? What would you choose? What kind of world do you think we live in, the first or the latter? How do you view the world: that people get the things they deserve or no? What about yourself? This week at Cafe we looked again at the book from the bible--John--chapter 9. It talks about this guy who was born blind. The people who were following Jesus around ask Jesus why this guy is blind. They ask, is it something he did or something his parents did? These people viewed the world through a 'you-get-only-what-you-deserve' world, a world of karma. Jesus says, well, none of the above. He says that's not important; he's says the important thing is God gets to show up and work with that. What's important is that we don't get what we deserve, that God wants to give us so much more. He and we call it grace. So often we want the 'why' of the situations around us, and its like God is saying to us that's not what's important. It's not why your mom has cancer, or why you struggle with anxiety, or why you don't like yourself, but rather that God can use those situations to display the most powerful force in the world: grace. God is saying there's this thing that is good, and you get it regardless: grace. He tells the people following him around to let go of this karma idea, and grab hold of grace--because it is good. Let go of low self-esteem, insecurity, guilt, shame, maybe these things we feel like we deserve; instead, grab freedom. There's hope for better, to not be defined by those things, because of this other thing: grace.
“…It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you reap, so will you sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff...I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep [crap]. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my [crap] and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.” -Bono