Karma vs. Grace at Christmas

bono grace karma

I hear a lot of people who profess Christianity talking about karma. Well, more specifically, I see many of my facebook friends who post how people who mess them over are gonna get what karma’s dishing out.

It’s funny how people always want karma for others but never for themselves. Just my opinion.

I prefer grace. Period.

I know where I’d be if I got karma. Majorly screwed.

Besides, Jesus didn’t come to give karma. Jesus came to give grace, which in my mind is infinitely better.

Karma says you get what you deserve. Grace says Jesus got and paid for what you deserve. That’s the difference.

Karma is all about what you deserve. Grace is what you don’t deserve but get anyway. Karma may be getting your just desserts, but grace is more like a feast– much more satisfying and filling.

Karma says that it’s up to you. Grace says that God is up to it.

Karma says that if you try really hard and be nice to people then maybe, just maybe, on the next go-round, you won’t be a bug. Eventually, if you’re really lucky and eat all your vegetables, you may wind up in a good place. And I admit that I’m exaggerating a bit.

Grace says that no matter how badly you’ve messed up and how even if you’ve made enough mistakes for several lifetimes, Jesus offers forgiveness and a do-over. Jesus offers a new life, not just in the eternal by-and-by, but here and now. Life to the fullest.

I choose grace.

If you want karma, that’s fine. I don’t want to wish for someone what I wouldn’t want to receive myself. I know that it’s not right to want karma for others and grace for myself. It just doesn’t work that way.

So grace wins in my book, hands down. The end.

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Mr. Irrelevant

Today, I watched the last few rounds of the NFL draft. I know for some of you that sounds as exciting as watching paint dry or grass grow. But it was an interesting experience, nonetheless.

There’s a new tradition where the last player picked in the draft is deemed Mr. Irrelevant and bestowed with many mock honors in a week-long celebration. I realize that it’s all in fun and not to be taken overly seriously, but it got me thinking.

Have you ever felt irrelevant? Like you don’t matter?

Have you ever been through the process of looking for a job and been to interview after interview, only to be told a variation of, “We’re sorry, but we’ve decided to go with another candidate”?

Have you been at home reading about all the fun exploits everybody else is posting about on facebook and felt uninvited and unwanted?

Did you know that the God of the Universe would have sent Jesus to the cross if you had been the only one who needed saving? Do you realize that God chose you not out of some cosmic sense of obligation, but because he actually and truly wanted you?

I have trouble believing it sometimes, but it’s true. I think Max Lucado said that Jesus would rather go through hell for me than go back to heaven without me. That means that I matter. That means that you matter.

Don’t ever let anybody make you feel like you’re unwanted. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t matter. You’re wanted and you matter.

I may have already said something like this before, but I don’t care. I’ll keep repeating the same truths over and over until you and I both fully grasp that God is crazy in love with us and desires for us to know him more than anything.

So you see there really are no Mr. Irrelevants after all.

Something Good to Remember on a Monday

Matthew 5:1 says, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

I’ve read past that a thousand or more times. I’ve rushed past those words to get to the Sermon on the Mount, the good stuff. But I think I’ve done myself a disservice by not paying attention to this verse, particularly the first three words: “Seeing the crowds.”

Did you catch that? He saw the people who came to see him. He didn’t see bodies. He saw faces lined with pain. He saw heartaches and anxieties and unrest. He saw people just trying to get through the day.

Just as he sees you and he sees me.

Do you ever feel unnoticed? Do you ever post on facebook and no one responds? Do you ever comment on someone else’s post and he or she responds to everyone else but you?

Do you often feel invisible in a crowd? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that no one would miss you if you were suddenly not there? Or like George Bailey, do you think the world would be better off if you’d never been born?

You may not feel like anyone knows you or the secret shame and pain you carry. Jesus does.

You may think that you don’t matter to anyone. You matter to Jesus.

You are not alone. You have an advocate, someone who is on your side, who fights for you, who roots for you, who won’t abandon you in the dark or in the storms. His name is Jesus.

I didn’t come up with this, but it’s still true: if you had been the only one lost and in need of a Savior, Jesus still would have gone through every bit of the cross just for you. He loves you that much.

If your Monday’s been awesome, that’s great. God rejoices with you. But if your Monday was horrible and couldn’t end soon enough, this promise still holds true.

This is from a ragamuffin who needs daily reminders of the goodness of God as much as anyone else. God is faithful, even when it seems he is absent. He is good, always.

 

What I want (what we should all want)

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

I don’t want people to know me for being smart or funny or clever or nice or gentle. I want people to see me and be astonished and say “That man has been with Jesus.” I hope that is your prayer, too. That outsiders will look at us and recognize Jesus in us, and see that we, like Moses, are radiant from having been face-to-face with the King of the Universe. Because when we have been with Jesus, we are never the same. We can never again settle. We are “ruined for the ordinary.”

Which brings up a convicting point for me. I NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH JESUS. If I only give Him 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there, I doubt that people will know that I have been with Him. It’s got to be more. If I am to love with the love of Jesus and be His hands and feet to the world, I have to know His heart much more fully than I do now.

Here’s a question that nailed me today. If your witness for Christ was limited to your facebook posts and replies and comments, what kind of testimony would that be? Would it be the kind that would make people want to know Jesus more or would it drive people away? Would people think that we were different or would they think we are just like them and therefore they have no use for what we have to say about our faith.

If we have been with Jesus, our words will match our walk and what comes out of our lips (and from our keyboards) will match our lifestyle.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.