Karma and Free Will
an excellent question! The notions of "an eye for an eye", "a tooth for a tooth", or "you shall reap what you sow," are not really related to external mechanisms of karma returning to you. Karma means action causing reaction. But reaction and action are basically the same thing and always occur inside the doer. Hence, an eye for an eye.
If you kill someone, you are not really responsible for the death of the other person' that's only how man's laws see it. Cosmic law looks at what happened before this event and finds that the victim is responsible for what happens to him. In a previous life, the roles were perhaps reversed, and today's victim was the murderer back then. To bring balance to an unbalanced relationship between the two, you may agree to do the killing this time so that the victim can feel how it feels like to be killed and at the same time clear up the guilt of killing you in that previous life. Unless the other person (the victim) truly accepts himself (a kind of self-forgiveness)and replaces the guilt with love and compassion for himself and others, so long will it be necessry for a karmic retribution. If you have grown in love and compassion, you won't be playing the role of the killer, but someone else will do it instead.
If your eye is blurred, your world will appear blurred to you. There is no external force that carries karma to you. All karma (action and reaction) is inside you. Whenever there is guilt or shame left from what you may have once conceived to be your bad or evil actions (which is but an illusion), in order to free yourself from self-strangelation, you will require external threats, unfortunate events or circumstances like accidents, or antagonistic people in your life in order to cancel out this guilt or shame. It is your own seeds that you are putting in the soil. So what you reap is nothing but how you treat yourself, and not necessarily how you treat others. If anyone who crosses your path suffers as result of your actions or behavious toward him, it is but his own making. If you feel guilty for what you have done, it is your own making. We are therefore responsible for everything that happens to us.
If we see something in a certain way, there will be people or situations that will mirror back to us what or how we see ourselves. It literally is an eye for an eye. Our world is our personal mirror effect or extended self. If we perceive ourselves with love and compassion, the world will extend love and compassion to us. If we don't like something in us, the world will let us know that we don't feel worthy. It is all our making, and free will is the controller. But free will is not something that occurs in the head. It is the heart or higher self that makes the descisions, even if the ego personality resists and screams. Only one's higher self knows how much guilt is left over (from previous lives or this life) thus requiring measures that may not please the senses, body and the intellect. You are your higher self, yet most people refer to their ego personality self when they experience pain or joy. When pain or joy are perceived as equal, the higher self shines through the ego self, which spiritual leaders have called enlightenment. This balance between the forces of right and wrong, good and bad, love and fear, light and dark, etc. is all what enlightenment comprises. Karma ends just there because the self can no longer perceive itself as good or bad, but as being both and yet being free of either. You may want to re-read that part in my book, Lifting the Veil of Duality, it makes it more clear than I can describe it here.