Sow with a view to righteousness [that righteousness, like seed, may germinate]; Reap in accordance with mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, For it is time to seek and search diligently for the Lord [and to long for His blessing] Until He comes to rain righteousness and His gift of salvation on you. Hosea 10:12 AMP
When we plant an apple seed, we understand that an apple tree will come up. When we plant a cucumber seed, cucumbers come up. When it comes to planting something in the ground, we pretty much understand that we reap what we sow.
But when it comes to human relationships, we somehow don’t see it.
For example, a parent gets angry with a child and berates the child. He/she expects that this will help the child learn to do right the next time. Instead, it teaches the child how to respond poorly when he/she becomes angry. And it teaches fear.
An older sibling gets frustrated with a younger sibling and wants the younger sibling to stop “being bad”. The older sibling reacts in a way that is not righteous, and expects the younger child to learn righteousness. Instead, the younger child learns the unrighteous behavior being modeled in addition to the unacceptable behavior that he/she was demonstrating before.
A husband tries to get respect from his wife by acting or speaking in a way that invites disdain instead.
A wife tries to get love from her husband by acting in a way that makes him want to walk away.
I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is continuing to do what doesn’t work. But we get so caught up in our hurt feelings, that we don’t think straight about how we need to change ourselves. Instead we tend to resort to fleshly behaviors, trying to control the other person instead of controlling ourselves.
Each individual in the above examples needs to recognize that his/her choices are not bringing about the desired results. Instead they are doing the opposite.
We cannot change the other person. But, we can sow seeds into their lives that, when watered with love, faithfulness, and kindness, will bring about a harvest of the right things that we have sown.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7,8 NASB
Sowing seeds of anger, meanness, abuse, contempt, and rejection bring a harvest of death to the relationship. Choosing to be the one who is led by the Spirit of God instead and responding in a righteous manner will bring life, love, respect, and all the other fruits of righteousness that we were hoping to receive.
“for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
James 1:20 NASB
Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord…. Hosea 10:12 NASB
Break up your fallow ground means to plow and get rid of the weeds before planting the seed. This involves confession of our own sins. It involves repentance, and seeking the Lord.
Fixing a relationship must start with ourselves getting right with God. We need to move beyond our “hurt feelings” and “who started it” and all the excuses. We must then surrender it all to God. We also will need to ask forgiveness of the one(s) we have offended.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NLT
- If we want others to be kind, we must sow kindness.
- If we want to be loved, we must sow love.
- If we want to be respected, we must show respect.
- If we want to be listened to, we must listen.
- If we want the other person to communicate better, we must do our best to communicate better.
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6 NASB
How much love do you want to receive? (or kindness, or attention, or respect,…)
Sow sparingly, reap sparingly.
Sow bountifully, reap bountifully.
Let’s be the one to break the cycle of bad reactions, self-pity, anger, and hurtful words. We have a Savior who loves us. If we seek Him and receive of His love, we will have plenty to share with others. If we seek Him with all our heart and walk in obedience to Him, we will have the fruit of His love toward us to share in abundance with others.
Today, I’m thankful for those who have sown love into my life.
I’m thankful that when there was no one to do so, the Lord, Himself, has sown His love into my heart so that I could sow it in the lives of others.
I’m thankful that His love is boundless, and we can sow it bountifully and never run out!
I’m thankful that the Lord teaches us these principles in His word, and we can be sure that His word is true!
What about you? Have you ever considered these ideas of sowing and reaping in the context of relationships? Have you seen these principles in action in your life or in the life of someone else?