“what goes around comes around”
“he brought this on himself”
The other day I was having a conversation with God, and I caught myself–or rather He pointed out– MULTIPLE times, defining God with human parametres. It started out simply enough. I was praying for someone whose illness could be considered a result of their own choices. I was praying from a place of sincerity and earnest desire, and suddenly I started interrupting myself and cutting God off.
Have you ever done that? When you’re making a request of someone that you know might be a “stretch” you just start qualifying and pre-emptively defending what would give you the audacity to ask in the first place, lest they reject your request and or exclaim about your gall?
So I basically started doing that. “I know they maybe brought this on themselves etc etc… but”
And right there, in that statement God showed me the limited view of Him I was demonstrating.
first of all, who suggested that this request was a ‘stretch’ !? that I should need to cut Him off and start defending my request!?
To Whom am I praying, after all!? that this request might be too big for Him!? seriously?
by the way, God was a lot more gentle–I’m just a little appalled at myself!
second, the mindset I was in, I was suggesting not that some kind of justice needed to play out, but that God, perhaps, wasn’t interested on ‘wasting’ a miracle on someone who may have ‘earned’ their illness.
Where did the notion come from that God’s miracles come in limited supply?!? That He’s not going to dole out healing or the miraculous lest it be ‘wasted’!? Mercy is infinite! He WANTS us to swim in His mercy! that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more going on behind the scenes that may necessitate different responses than swift and miraculous mercy, but the idea that God has some kind of ‘miracle quota’ is a little bit preposterous. or a lot of bit.
But finally–and this is the one that I’ve really been meditating on… was simply this. What human EVER has the right to suggest that suffering, disease, death, pain, sorrow, loss, agony, of any kind is deserved by another for having ‘brought it on themselves’!?
What human is exempt from complicity in the broken condition under which we all suffer!?
in other words…
Who *HASN’T* ‘brought it on themselves’ !?
All these little things we say about people bringing it on themselves and ‘kharma’s a b*tch’ and ‘what goes around comes around’ etc etc are all excused we find to guard our hearts from feeling, [gasp] empathy!
Yes, it’s true that there is cause and effect. and all of our actions–whether we recognize it or not–have effects. And the fact that 100% of humanity is complicit in the suffering and death and agony of the broken condition is by no means an excuse to then live frivolously and “sin more that grace may increase” *, but instead, is a recognition that should spur us into compassion.
The reality that ‘this person’s actions’ are more obvious to us as having a cause and effect relationship with his or her suffering does not negate the reality that without God’s grace, the suffering we see in “this person” and much more would be ours as well.
^pictured above-an artists rendering of Job 42:1-6^
the idea that anyone deserves ‘their suffering’ and ‘we’ don’t—because we haven’t taken the same actions as they have or whatnot… it complete rubbish. There’s no place for justifying passivity and inaction with self-righteousness.
Without the provisional grace of God Every. Single. Moment…. our lives–by our own making, would be nothing but chaos and ruin, isolation, loneliness, disease, famine, death, and destruction. It is what we all “deserve”.
So since we’re all–every one of us–swimming in mercy, I am invited to “approach the throne of grace with confidence” ** and plead for His mercy on every one of His creation. I am called to have compassion recognizing that we are all alike in our broken need of Him.
And I am called to gratitude for every breath that I take—and the recognition that “every good and perfect gift” is from Him. ***