Pass The Karma
So I’ve been away for a while as you might have noticed. But I haven’t stopped thinking about writing ever since. However I do believe that I owe you all an explanation. So here it goes…
If you haven’t already figured out, I am currently a graduating student(in less than 5 months!) at my high school. The last few months had taken a toll on me emotionally and spiritually as I had only transferred here from my last high school just a year ago, I’m still somewhat considered the new kid. And as a lot of you may have known through experience, that does not always mean a good thing. I have not been bullied or anything but I have also never fitted in. I had been studying at a Christian private school for the last 3 1/2 years and the atmosphere there is a whole lot different than where I am. So you can say I was a fish out of water. And despite a year at my first public high school, I am still gasping for air.
At first, I had thought that I could handle the change. seeing that I had already transferred six times between schools. But I had no idea what I was in for. I thought that God would always present during my time here but instead I had grown closer to the people I was trying to impress rather than connect with my Father. It’s hard sometimes right? Because you don’t really know if He is there for you when you are in that foreign place.
One of the greatest spiritual battles that I had to overcome with God was learning to forgive. I mean who would have actually thought how hard it would be to follow Jesus words, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”? I know that you yourself can think of one or even a few people who have betrayed your trust. They have turned your heart upside down and drain out all the joy that you had once had. And imagine! What’s even worse than the act is the aftermath. You relive that moment over and over again in your thoughts. The clarity of the pain and possible humiliation is still sharp. You want justice! You want them to know the ramifications of their actions and then, only then, will you be able to forgive them…maybe.
It seems right, doesn’t it? You are justified for their actions and the balance had been restored. All is right with the world and you can go on doing what you had always been doing.
The truth is, it was never about karma. Honestly, I don’t think something as convoluted and complicated as human beings are even capable of following such a simple rule like “What goes around comes around”. I don’t believe that if we let things as they are, the forces of the world will join together for our good. Revenge doesn’t work either. As quoted by Mahatma Gandhi, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.”
So that leaves forgiveness. Jesus wasn’t just joking when he said, “Forgive them seventy times seven times” There is a vicious cycle in our midst and some of us are too bent on a moment’s satisfaction to find it. But he figured it out. And he lived it out.
When Jesus talks to us about forgiveness, it doesn’t mean looking the other way liked I used to think. I mean, God is a good God. A just God. To look the other way to an evil deed being done is against his whole nature for it means he condones it! No, forgiveness goes beyond ignorance and retribution and settles on mercy. It acknowledges that a wrong had been done but repays it with love. It is unfair yes, but it is necessary.
I think that one of the best examples of this unfair response is found in one of my favorite books, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey. He recounts this one incident involving a Ku Klux Klan member who made headlines when he renounced his association with the KKK, tore down his Nazi flags and burned his hate literature. The Grand Dragon Larry Trapp was everything one would expect the KKK would be like. He sent a Jewish family pamphlets mocking their figures and denying the Holocaust. He threatened them openly and it was only a matter of time before their synagogue became the bulls-eye for his bomb. You are probably now imagining him as some tall, muscular bully with an astonishing likeness to a certain deplorable dictator. Far from it. The Grand Dragon had been crippled with diabetes from youth, losing his eyesight rapidly and confined to a wheelchair. And despite their history, the cantor family who he had harassed and threatened for so long invited him into their home, treating him as an honored guest; someone worthy of love and compassion.
“They showed me so much love that I couldn’t help but love them back.”
In his last months, Trapp spent his time seeking forgiveness from the multitudes of Jews and other groups that he had hated and wronged.
Forgiveness is hard. I have grappled with God many a time on this issue. And I know that there may have been situations in your life where you cannot just let it go. But you cannot have one or the other. I have learned the hard way that you cannot love God and hate your enemies. When you want to act as a judge, you are not judging one person. You are putting on trial, a child of God. Someone that He died to save. Someone that He loved so much that He gave Himself up for their safety. God is a part of that person, whether they believe in Him or not. That’s the extent of His compassion.
When you forgive someone, you slice away the wrong from the person who did it. You disengage that person from his hurtful act. You recreate him. At one moment you identify him ineradicably as the person who did you wrong. The next moment you change that identity. He is remade in your memory. You think of him now as the person who needs you. You feel him now not as the person who alienated you, but as the person who belongs to you. Once you branded him as a person powerful in evil, but now you see him weak in his needs. You recreated your past by recreating the person whose wrong made your past painful.
I am going to start loving those who hurt me and pray for those who persecute me. It will be a struggle yes and I will yearn to retaliate with all my heart. But I know now tha I cannot weild my own justice and expect God to be able to bless me. Forgiveness does not mean that I will back down from what is right in God’s eyes for pacificity is a sin too. Let us walk the trapeze line of forgiveness, trusting God to catch us when we fall. FOR HE IS LOVE.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
-Micah 6:8 (NIV)
One Ordinary Radical