Tag Archives: karma

Open Arms

Genesis 42-45

I love this part of Joseph’s story. He is finally reunited with his brothers. It’s a beautiful reunion. But it could have ended quite differently.

Joseph was looking at the ten men who had wanted him dead, who had thrown him into a pit then sat down to dinner like it was the most normal thing in the world. They sold their brother to evil men, probably hoping Joseph would die at their hands instead of the brothers’. It a heartless betrayal.

Yet when Joseph meets them after thirteen years a slave, he embraces his brothers. There is no mention of the sins they had committed against him. He eventually welcomed them with open arms.

Most of us wouldn’t have blamed him if he had acquired ten slaves that day. Tit for tat. An eye for an eye. Karma, baby! That’s not what happened. And some people scratch their heads and wonder why.

The answer is in the life Joseph had lived those thirteen years in captivity. He walked with God. He trusted God, depended on God, submitted to the will of God. You can’t hold a grudge if you’re holding onto God.

Which got me thinking about the term, “open arms.” When you stretch out your arms to someone you leave your heart unprotected. It’s a gesture of openness, acceptance, trust. vulnerability. You take a chance when you open your arms to someone who has wronged you.

But isn’t that what Jesus did? The ultimate open arms occurred when they stretched His arms out and nailed Him to the cross. Talk about vulnerable! And He opened Himself up like that for those of us who betrayed Him, disrespected Him, hurt Him.

He did that for you.

We know that Joseph is a type of Christ, a picture of who Jesus is. I think it’s a beautiful picture.

What I see in these chapters I read today is an example of how I want my walk with the Lord to look. No grudges. No revenge-seeking. No holding onto hurt or painful memories.

Is there someone who needs your open arms today?

April 20; Get ‘Em, God

Psalms 7, 35, 57, 142

It’s tempting to read David’s psalms and have a sense of satisfaction, thinking the people in our lives who have treated us badly will get what’s coming to them. It’s tempting to think God is telling us, “What goes around, comes around.” But does that sound like the God you know and love?

If that were the case, Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the cross. The cross is totally about NOT getting what’s coming to any of us. Jesus died for sinners, not just people who were nice to Him.

Jesus taught us to love our enemies, do good to people who aren’t good to us, pray for people who mistreat us. He never told us it was ok to secretly hope a house will fall on top of them, or even hope that someone will do to them what they did to us.

So how are we supposed to read these psalms where David is asking God to destroy his enemies? We read them and ask God to destroy ours.

Get ’em, God!

But remember, David’s enemies were flesh and blood. Ours are not. Our enemy is Satan. Our enemy is sin, temptation, false teaching… We read these psalms, and instead of looking outward, pointing fingers at people who are mean to us, we take a good look within ourselves and identify the enemy that is attacking our own soul.

THAT’S the enemy we want God to defeat, to destroy, to disgrace and put to shame. That’s the enemy we want to fall into the pit it has dug for us.

Get ’em, God!

Please don’t read these psalms with the name of someone who has hurt you in your mind. Read these psalms with one eye on yourself, and the other on God who wants you to have victory over sin, who delights in helping you win those battles with Satan.

And as for that person who has hurt you? I would encourage you to begin to pray that God will give them what they don’t deserve… Himself. After all, He did that for you.

January 10; The Yearning of Your Heart

There are people, Job’s friends included, who think that things even out in the end. That if you wait long enough, that guy who cut you off in traffic will get a flat tire; or the person who lied about you will someday be lied about; that there is a circular balancing act in the universe that eventually makes things fair. Karma, baby. What goes around comes around.

But the truth is, life is not fair. It will never be fair. As long as there is evil in the world, bad things will happen to good – and bad – people. Good things will happen to good – and bad – people.

Job reminds us to take our eyes off our circumstances, and especially other’s circumstances, and focus on God. Listen to what he says:

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (19:25-27)

What is it you yearn for? An easier life? Revenge? Or is God Himself, seeing His hand in everything that happens in your life, the yearning of your heart?


April 21 – After God’s Own Heart

2 Samuel 1-4

I think I see what Scripture means when it says David was a man after God’s own heart. In these chapters we see that David mourned the death of Saul. Yes, Saul. Saul who had spent years trying to kill David. That Saul. Yet David never thought, “Well good. It’s about time he got what he deserved. Karma, baby.”

In fact, David went so far as to say, in the song he wrote for Saul, “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life…” Beloved? Pleasant? Saul? That’s what David sang.

David’s example as a man after God’s own heart, helps me understand that God does not take joy in the death of any of the people who reject Him. Jesus died for them. He took their sins upon Himself on the cross. The vilest offender, the most depraved, the most hateful terrorist is a soul whose salvation is bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus. It’s their’s for the taking up to the last breath they breathe. And somehow, I believe God mourns the death of anyone who dies without accepting Him, even more than David mourned Saul’s death.

So, dear one. If you have a secret desire that someone who’s wronged you will get what you think they deserve, stop it! That attitude cannot please God.

If we who are His children want to be people after God’s own heart (and I hope that is the desire of us all) we need to confess that desire for bad things to happen to someone, as sin. We need to pray for the person we hold a grudge against.

And we must never rejoice in the suffering of anyone, including our “enemy.”

If David can do it, so can I with the help of my Savior who loves that person to death.

August 5

Jeremiah 22:24-23:8, 49:1-33; 2 Kings 24:10-17;  2 Chronicles 36:10; Obadiah 1:1-21

I’m pretty sure that when the nation of Israel was following God and were enjoying his blessings, other nations were jealous of them. I mean, who enjoys watching an enemy prosper?

The descendants of Esau were no doubt doubly jealous and resentful because after all, didn’t they have Abraham’s blood in them, too?

So when the nation of Israel was overpowered and taken captive, not only did the Edomites not lift a finger to help them, they stood by with a measure of satisfaction. They hadn’t raised a hand against God’s people themselves. But they enjoyed watching someone else do the dirty deed.

What does God say to Edom through Obadiah? 1:11 says, “On the day you stood by… you were like one of them”. As guilty as those whose hands were dirty. Obadiah goes on to say that they shouldn’t look down on their brother or rejoice when bad things happen to them.

Have you ever had a secret chuckle at the misfortune of someone who has wronged you? Be careful. God says if we do, we are as guilty as one who commits a crime.

Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies. Love them. Do good to them. If you harbor resentment and secretly hope someone gets what you think they deserve, confess that attitude as sin.

Look at verse 15. God warns us that what we do just might come around and hit us instead. What you wish on your enemy just might become your own lot in life.

Is someone treating you unfairly? Pray God blesses them. You wouldn’t mind if that came around to you, would you?