“Don’t do that! That’s bachi!”
My mother yelled at me as I stomped on a mound of ants that festered in our backyard. I was only six years old but I was already very familiar with this admonition. Whenever I did a naughty or mischievous action, my parents would yell out this phrase.
This Japanese word is the shortened version of the phrase, “Bachi ga Ataru!” Loosely translated it means if one does something bad or evil, a similar fate will return unto the person. It is based upon the Buddhist and Hindu beliefs of karmic retribution. Because of the rich Asian culture in Hawaii, where I grew up, it was adopted by most of the natives, regardless of one’s ethnic or religious upbringing. This principle remained with me for many years and it still emerges at family gatherings or when I am with my friends from Hawaii. After I became a Christian in college, I began to rethink this common phrase especially when I read verses in the Bible that superficially appear to be expounding the same principle of karma.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Galatians 6:7 (ESV)
There is an important distinction between what other religions and cultures believe and what Christianity teaches. The doctrine of karma teaches that if the sum of our own good actions outweigh the bad, we can ultimately achieve salvation. Christianity teaches us that none of our actions have any worth or merit and apart from Jesus Christ, they are like a polluted garment or a filthy rag.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Isaiah 64:6 (ESV)
It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we can achieve salvation. None of our good works or deeds will ever achieve this. Once we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will have salvation and eternal life. Any good work we do is out of gratitude for what Jesus Christ has done for us, not to earn our way into Heaven.
The Bible verse expounds a very important Truth but it is not karma. We will reap what we sow if we willingly choose to reject God’s offer of salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.