Why do people say that? Do they know what that phrase is referring to?
“Karma” is a concept from eastern mysticism: Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.
In these forms of pagan mysticism it is taught that “karma” is an impersonal force that controls the universe. A person develops “good karma” or “bad karma” through their actions. When a person performs “good” deeds it builds up good karma and that goodness will be returned to them by future good that comes into their lives. And if they do bad… bad things will happen to them.
Karma is an impersonal force, meaning that it is not a person. It’s like “the Force” of the movie “Star Wars”. What paganism is saying is that the universe is controlled, not by a personal God, but by a “Force”… a “life force”. A karmic life force that is in everything and through everything and is in you and me, so that “god” is everywhere in everything and in you and me… so that you and I have the divinity within us… god is within us… so, in a sense we are god. Does this sound like the serpent in the Garden of Eden? It should because it comes from the same source as the occult “wisdom” of the serpent in Genesis 3:5:
“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Those who believe in Karma also usually believe in reincarnation. They believe that you get a better deal in the “next life” by storing up good karma. Or, through various mystical techniques, one can escape the cycles of reincarnation altogether. Of course, reincarnation is yet another tragic deception, because the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27:
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,”
Some people may try to justify karma from the Bible by saying “A person reaps what he sows.” However those words are found in Galatians 6:7-8:
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
These verses do not justify karma or the phrase, “what goes around, comes around”. These verses are not about an impersonal force. This section of scripture is about a God of holiness who is a righteous judge. It’s not about a god who mindlessly gives an effect for a certain cause. In the context of the whole Bible, this is about God who is in control, who is sovereign who can do whatever he wants… and he wants to be just and holy and righteous.
And what we ought to be eternally grateful for, is that God is both all powerful AND he loves us! Which is why Romans 8:28 can be true:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
I recommend rejecting the phrase, “what goes around, comes around”… reject karma… and trust in the God of Romans 8:28!
And the next time you hear someone say, “What goes around comes around!”, at least pray the Lord would open their eyes. But consider saying something like, “Don’t trust in Karma. Put your trust in the Sovereign God who created you and loves you! Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.”