Most societies believe in kharma. The basic saying goes this way "Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto to you".
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Sometimes you can immediately experience or witness the balancing out of Kharma, other times it takes years and, other times - if one believes in Reincarnation, lifetimes.
Agree with you JThomp42. However, many who believe in the Laws of Karma (the balancing out) also believe in Reincarnation, so merits or debts acrued in one life might be worked out in a future life or even lifetimes.