Oh, the things we say.

Hate. It’s such a strong word. We use it to express our extreme and intense dislike, disgust or repulsion for just about anything. I hate broccoli. I hate traffic. I hate those shoes. I hate Mondays.

We’re so liberal with that word, using it to describe our feelings on any given subject. And while it’s not the best choice of words, I suppose it’s ok to use to convey strong feelings about things and situations.

As followers of Jesus, most of us would never use hate to describe how we feel about a person we know, regardless of how intense our feelings are. Whether it’s a neighbor, co-worker, family member or someone we associate with occasionally – we choose other words that are far less harsh.

But, we aren’t so generous with people we have no direct connection to. Like political figures. Celebrities. Performers. Telemarketers. We have no problem professing our extreme and intense dislike, disgust or repulsion for them.  And while we may not use the word “hate”, could it be possible that hate is at the root of what we do say?

Somehow in our mind these people aren’t quite real because all we see is their persona – the image they project. We don’t see them as an individual person. And because we have depersonalized them, we don’t see them as someone who has feelings, fears, insecurities and weaknesses. And as a result, we will say (tweet!) things about them that we would never say to any person we have even the weakest connection to. We’ll call them names. We’ll criticize. We’ll nitpick. We’ll just be plain mean.

And since we don’t think they will ever know what we say about them – we think it doesn’t matter.

But it does matter. Every word. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36 that we must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The word “idle” in the original Greek is the word argos and one of its meanings is “injurious”. So not only will we account for every thoughtless, careless and unprofitable word – we’ll also report on our words that were damaging to another. Words that were hurtful. Words that were expressions of extreme and intense dislike, disgust or repulsion. Words of hate.

And not only are we held accountable for those words – but we are also accountable for the thoughts behind them. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

What we think about others – even those we don’t actually know – matters. It’s a reflection of the condition of our heart. It’s a barometer for what’s going on inside of us. And it’s the foundation for the words that flow from our mouths.

I think our thoughts and words about people are important to Abba because nothing is more valuable and precious to Him than people. Humans are His greatest creation, His prized treasure, the object of His deepest affections. And the words He speaks to every person are words of love, encouragement, restoration and healing. His desire is that our words would be like His, instruments of grace and mercy.

I want to become very uncomfortable with unloving thoughts and words about anyone, even those high-profile, political, not-anything-like-me, celebrity types. I want to remember that He is jealous for them and protective of them and I should be too. I want His love for all people to grow in me and overflow in my speech and actions.

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Sometimes I say stuff

Sometimes I say stuff – remember I’m a talker – but I have no idea what I’m saying. I heard someone somewhere say it and it sounded reasonable, so I repeat it. I read a snippet about it and it looked good to me, so I share it. Or it’s something “they” say – and you know they are always right – so I say it too.

As a result, I’ve found myself saying and sharing information that I really know nothing about. Or I say things without realizing what it means. And sometimes – it’s not good. Like the time I told my husband that I parked out in “BFE” and he nearly fainted. Needless to say, I don’t use that term any more. (don’t judge – I didn’t know)

Another one of those words is ‘karma’. Sounds like an interesting concept. A good idea. A word that can just easily be tossed out and it sounds right. A harmless word. And it’s trendy – all the cool kids say it.

However, I’ve gotten a little smarter since the BFE incident. So I did a little research because I wanted to understand what I was actually saying. And this is what I learned.

Karma is a spiritual concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions and is based upon the belief in reincarnation. The law of karma states that every thought, word or action – whether good or bad – will count in determining how an individual will be born in their next life on earth. It is the idea that how you live your life will determine your quality of life after reincarnation. So an individual with bad karma could be born many different times into a lower human status or even into lower forms of animals (which is why they are vegetarians because you can’t risk eating Uncle Elmer). An individual with good karma will “upgrade” their status in their next life. In Hinduism you have the ability to eventually upgrade to the Brahmin class and be released.

Karma is believed to be the invisible power that balances the universe – giving people what they deserve because their past actions create their present state and their present actions will create their future. Through karma, you create the world into which you are born.

In essence, karma teaches that individuals are in control of their salvation, which is their release from the cycle of birth and rebirth.

I’m no theologian, but none of this seems Biblical to me.

This belief abolishes grace by eliminating the possibility of forgiveness. It says I deserve the good things that come to me because I earned them, therefore denying the blessings of Abba and His goodness to humanity. It says that every bad thing that happens to me is my fault, denying the influence of a sin fallen world and an enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy. It teaches the philosophy of past lives and more lives to come contradicting the truth that man only dies once.

There are those who believe the idea of karma is found in the Bible in Galatians 5:6-7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

However, the enemy’s lie of karma is nothing like God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping. The Bible tells us receiving the benefits of godly choices takes place in this life, not in some future life. The Bible also teaches there are negative consequences for choices that are contrary to God’s principles. In addition, the sowing done on earth will affect the reaping in eternity – either in heaven or hell.

So, with that in mind – I won’t be using the word karma. I can’t talk about something that I don’t believe in. And I can’t promote anything that is contrary to the Word of God.

Now, to figure out what “oh for pete’s’ sake” means.