In previous articles, we discussed the cornerstones of a friendly universe and a God who never condemns us. If you have not already read them, please click the following links (article 1) (article 2) to review those first two cornerstones. This article will focus on what is commonly called karma, though the purpose behind the law of karma is often misunderstood.
Almost every religion acknowledges that “an eye for an eye” is fair treatment for the sins we’ve committed. That means that what we do to others comes back to ourselves. Whether we believe that the universe and God are friendly has much to do with how we view karma and the things that happen to us in life.
It is common to believe that karma is a punishment for our selfish acts. This one-sided perspective is reinforced in our daily lives. For instance, our earthly legal system does not require that a lawbreaker learn their lesson, only that they be punished for what they did wrong. Over many years, we have come to see that enforcing punishment alone only motivates criminals to work harder at not getting caught the next time. That perspective certainly limits us to seeing the glass as “half empty.” If the goal is to help transgressors freely want to be better people, a different approach is needed.
An optimist might describe karma as instructive rather than punitive. If nothing changes after a person decides to ‘break the law,” chances are they will continue to choose the wrong path in the future despite the threat of punishment. If that same criminal learns a better way to live and is given the opportunity to freely accept that new approach as their own, the odds for a lasting rehabilitation improve dramatically. Obviously, thinking of karma as instructive rather than punitive is an important step in making the desired changes. This is because those changes not only come from within, but also because the transgressor wants to become a better person.
So what does the world look like after accepting these first three cornerstones as truth? Our omnipotent and omniscient Father designed the entire universe and its laws to help us become the best people we can possibly be. God leaves no stone unturned in helping us become better children because He loves us all unconditionally. And with every possible pitfall in life, God has already provided a way of escape back into His loving arms. God’s perfect parenting of His children is always instructive even when we believe our suffering is punishment or random misfortune. It is always our choice to learn His loving ways and to be able to have a closer relationship with our Father.
In the fourth part of these articles, we will explore why the earth is such a wonderful place to learn how to play well with others.