Sowing seeds produces a specific crop of what we want to harvest. If it’s beans, we plant beans, if it’s peaches, we plant peaches, if it’s friendship, we plant openness, if it’s peace, we plant wisdom.
When we sow, we can expect reciprocity and multiplicity.
If someone sets out to sow seeds of discontent and discord, it can be hurtful and natural to repay like for like. But we can choose to plant seeds from the opposite spirit that will cultivate a different crop. The bible teaches us to bless others when they criticise, or even persecute us.
How then do we navigate our emotions in those moments? How are we managing strife or emptiness or feelings of alienation? How do we identify ourselves? How do we criticise ourselves? We do that, don't we? Many women think they should achieve more, they're not enough - we let our failures identify us, instead of our successes and joys. This position doesn't agree with the way Jesus Christ sees us.
If my identity is found in the loving kindness of a heavenly Father who seeks my good, and I understand all people are noticed by Him, I must also seek the good in the situations I find myself in, and be content in the outcome, whatever it may be.
I may not always feel other people deserve good from God if they've mistreated me, but God is willing to give each of us another chance to make things right. It's when people don't choose to make things right, God says to us, 'hey, leave it to me'. He is the Father and the judge of all, and knows how to extend justice to all.
Romans 12:18-20 (BSB)
If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
That means, our conduct and heart to live under a principle of blessing won’t give others ammunition against us. It will bring conviction.
Matthew 7:12 (GNT)
“Do for others what you want them to do for you”
Matthew 25:40 (Aramaic Bible in plain English)
‘Amen, I say to you, as much as you have done to one of these my little brothers you have done that to me.
I like this translation because it gives clarity to our approach. Primarily, it states the way we choose to behave to others is the way we are behaving to the Lord. Secondly, this translation demonstrates how ‘my little brothers’ are His younger siblings. This illustrates a tied relationship framed around responsibility, patience, gentleness, compassion and nurturing. It also illustrates his possession and connection in the relationship.
That should give us pause! God takes how we treat each other personally.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Consider 2 Corinthians 8:2-5 (NIV)
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity… they gave… even beyond their ability… they gave of themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God, to us.
While this is talking about material gifts, I like to take a lesson from it in other areas of need. We see sacrificial giving even in an impoverished state. They had so little; probably went without because of their giving, but they desired to do so.
What if we lived like that from a soul perspective in relationship? As followers of Christ, we seek spiritual wisdom over emotional and cerebral responses because our spirit in Christ is where we place our identity.
In the instance where someone may be causing us distress, or we are experiencing lack in some way, God is able to rebuild. Every time. That’s why we’re commended to put others first and commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. Strife or lack doesn't have to affect our disposition. If we offer a cup of grace that God fills for us, we don't simultaneously drink from a cup of envy, outrage or resentment.
The power of the tongue is a consuming fire that no one can tame, the bible says in the book of James. We don’t truly understand or acknowledge the full spiritual ramifications of spoken words. Whether we are talking to or about a person, whether we are declaring the word of God or criticising, our words can determine atmosphere and outcome. Words can set a course of action in the spiritual realm that influences the natural outcome of a situation. That's why prayer is so powerful, but it's not only limited to prayer.
What is in our heart determines our direction. What is in our heart leads to our expression of faith in a circumstance or a person. So we need to be careful what we express, what we say, and what we receive.
There’s a wonderful scripture that declares our determination.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
For the Christian, the Holy Spirit can help us deal with thoughts and circumstances that are counter-intuitive as well as counter-cultural. But, do we want that? Where do we place our identity?
1 John 1:5-6 (EXB)
Here is the message we have heard from Christ [him] and now announce [proclaim; declare] to you: God is light [referring to God’s truth and goodness], and in him there is no darkness [referring to falsehood and evil] at all. So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living [are walking] in darkness, we are liars and do not follow [perform; practice; act according to] the truth.
If we want to turn a challenging situation around, we can plant seeds of blessing: e.g. plant positivity and inclusiveness rather than negativity and rejection; forgiveness rather than hostility; collaboration rather than competition; kindness rather than frost or attack; grace rather than criticism; understanding rather than dismissiveness; gentleness rather than impatience.
Planting seeds of blessing can not only re-orientate a situation but can rebuild and restore our own soul. The reason for blessing is its reciprocity and multiplicity. Blessing doesn’t allow for negative emotions to take root within us. Instead, it propagates healing. The bible is the Word of God that brings light (understanding) to our soul. When we place our identity in Christ and what we know Him to be, everything abounds from there and the reciprocal relationship of blessing flows.