Sunday, January 20, 2008

We Reap What We Sow

I am not entirely familiar with the philosophy of karma. I vaguely associate it with the idea of getting what you deserve. What I do know is that the scriptures tell us that a man reaps what he sows. It is not possible to plant deceit and reap honor, just as it is not possible to plant corn and reap tulips. The seed bears what it is given to bear, it is up to us to be certain we are planting the right seeds.

I was recently involved in a situation where I was manipulated and used. Someone took something of mine, twisted it, and used it against my wishes for selfish gain. I originally had given my permission, but was not given the whole story. When the entire plan was revealed, I was uncomfortable with the situation and asked the person to reconsider. Instead of reconsidering, however, the person reacted in a way that was uneccessary and full of drama. An enormous fight ensued and I was told that my help would not be needed.

However, it turned out that, after all of the screaming, crying, and drama, the person went ahead with the plan without my knowledge. They used something that belonged to me without my permission or knowledge. They were willing to sacrifice integrity, character, and relationships in order to get their way in order to win a contest. Was it worth it? They didn't even place.

And so, I've been thinking about the verses in Galations.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Why the verses 7-8 come to mind isn't hard to see. A man reaps what he sows. Dishonesty and manipulation were planted and the destruction of a relationship and a lost contest were reaped.

But, verse 9 has also been meaningful to me in this situation. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up". It's easy, sometimes, to become weary in doing good. It seems that when someone does something for selfish ambition, they quickly reap a harvest of good things. Perhaps they get their way in what they were trying to accomplish. Or, perhaps they have a financial windfall from a dirty deal. On the surface, it seems that they reap a harvest of bounty from a dirty deed. In truth, they have a costly harvest ahead of them that may not be apparent right away. But, the gestation time of a good deed can be lengthy. Ever heard the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished"? That's how it feels. Often, when we do the right thing we reap an immediate harvest of pain and trouble. We may choose to stand up for something and be wounded in the process. Or, perhaps we shed light on darkness and we pay a personal price for it. It's hard to stay the course and "not give up" We may not see the reward or the "fruit" of goodness this side of heaven. But, we are still instructed to press on. Take every opportunity to do good.

In this instance, I'm expected to rise above. I'm expected to let it go even though I was wronged. The one who acted badly is getting their way once again. And, I have to be ok with that. I don't, however, have to be taken advantage of again. I don't have to offer my help or services in the future. My flesh wants to be vindicated and to "have it out" with the violating party. But, what will that accomplish? Will they apologize? Probably not. Will they even recognize that what they've done is wrong? Probably not. Will it erase what has been done and the hurt that it has caused? No, it will not. So, I will move forward and seek to be more discerning in the future. I will do my best to not fall into a similar situation again. I will pray for those involved and hope that they see the problems in their methods. And, I will continue to plant seeds of goodness in the lives of those around me and pray that I never weary in doing good.

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