What goes around…
Can you finish the sentence?
Of course you can. What goes around . . . comes around.
This is an old proverb that simply means that what you dish out will eventually get fed back to you.
I’m not talking about karma, but about a biblical principle.
In the previous article, we observed a warning from Jesus about being too quick to make judgments about people. Luke, in his recounting of the words of Jesus, gives a little more insight about how we should approach this subject.
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:37-38 NKJV)
This is a very interesting passage if you take a step back and look at it. Four specific actions are mentioned that prove “what goes around comes around.”
- Judging – If you make yourself the judge, expect to be judged.
- Condemning – If you are quick to condemn others, expect to be condemned.
- Forgiving – If you are apt to forgive, others will be more apt to forgive you.
- Giving – If you are generous, others will give to you.
Let’s look at each of these areas a little more closely.
Do you want to be judged?
If you set yourself up as the authority who decides if others are right or wrong, remember that you are setting up a standard by which you also will be judged.
If you don’t believe me, try a little test. Approach someone and make a rude comment about their clothes. See if they don’t give you one in return.
When you have the attitude that you are the policeman of everyone’s actions, people will turn it around on you. It doesn’t take them long to find something wrong with you, too.
Do you want to be condemned?
“Condemn” is more specific than “judge.” Whereas judging is making a decision (which may or may not be favorable), to condemn is to pronounce guilty.
Somehow we all think that we have super powers and know everyone’s motives. Granted, sometimes it seems obvious, but how can we really be sure?
Once again, when you judge you are setting up a standard. Are you willing to live by that standard?
Here’s the problem: it is easy to condemn others in areas where we are strong. We all have some areas where we excel and others where we are weak. On top of that, we often expect perfection out of everyone else when we cannot attain to it ourselves.
Many times I have told my children, “If you would be as interested in doing right as you are in your brother or sister doing right, you would be a perfect child.” The same goes for adults.
As we will see in more detail later, this does not mean that we are to turn a blind eye to sin. The spirit of the passage is that we are not to take upon ourselves the task of looking for the faults of other people. If we do, they will also observe our faults.
Do you want forgiveness?
Isn’t it so much easier to forgive a forgiving person than one who holds onto animosity?
Jesus had some pretty serious words to say about forgiveness. In the parable of the man who was forgiven 10,000 talents but would not forgive his fellow worker a fraction of what he had owed, the merciless man was tortured until he could repay his debt.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (Matthew 18:35 NKJV)
Here is Jesus’ lesson: Do not ask God for forgiveness if you are not willing to forgive others.
Go and forgive others first, then come back looking for forgiveness from God.
Do you want to receive?
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (II Corinthians 9:6 NKJV)
Of course, we do not give for the purpose of receiving something in return. However, this principle just might answer the question of why nobody gives to you!
It really makes sense when you think about it. When someone is in trouble, are you more apt to help him out if he has been generous or stingy in the past?
“What goes around comes around” is not a magical formula that we can use to get what we want. It is, however, an observation that Jesus used to teach a lesson: Do not be so quick to judge and condemn. Rather, be quick to forgive and give.
Click here to see the previous article, Play by Your Own Rules.
Click here to see the next article, Conditions for Judging (Part 1).