Sins and punishment

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

From time to time I am involved in debates on sin and punishment, which is embedded in the concept of Karma, promoted by ancient religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. Karma means that “people will answer for their actions, if not in this life then in the next one”. Also Paul mentions in Galatians 6, 7 “A man reaps what he sows”. In other words, you have to pay for your sins during your lifetime.

Karma in practical terms easily leads to “blame the victim” in the sense that if something bad happens to you, it means that you have done something wrong and you should be blamed for it.

I am grateful to Luke that he has recorded a small piece in Jesus` preaching which contradicts the concept of Karma (Luc. 13, 1-5). Pilate had done cruelty to some Galileans and at the same time a terrible accident happened when a tower collapsed and killed 18 people. Jesus said: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! Or those eighteen who died when the tower…fell on them- do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no!” Another passage in John tells us the same about a blind man: “His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.”

We have a merciful God, a forgiving God. It is logical that we should repent (although we are often not even aware of our wrongdoing) but even more, we are invited to trust in him, not blaming other people when they have to endure hardships.

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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