The concept of “what goes around comes around” is deeply rooted in biblical teachings about sowing and reaping. At its core, it is the principle that our actions, whether good or bad, will have future consequences.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible clearly teaches that there are spiritual laws such as sowing and reaping that govern our lives. What we do, whether good or evil, will come back to us in due time.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore the biblical foundation of “what goes around comes around” by looking at relevant passages and examples in both the Old and New Testaments. We will also examine how this principle applies in our everyday lives and relationships according to scriptural wisdom.
The Law of Sowing and Reaping in the Bible
This passage from Galatians states that whatever a person sows, they will reap. If they sow good seeds, they will reap good fruits. But if they sow bad or evil seeds, they will reap destruction. It emphasizes that God cannot be mocked – a person will reap exactly what they sow.
This principle applies to every area of life including relationships, finances, health etc.
Job 4:8 declares that “those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. “ It means that troublemakers will eventually suffer the consequences of their own actions. An individual or nation that sows wickedness and violence will eventually face calamity and disaster as a result of their deeds.
Proverbs 22:8 warns that “Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity. “ It conveys that a person engaging in unjust or oppressive behavior will ultimately experience misfortune as a result. This principle applies to people and systems that take advantage of others – they will reap negative outcomes from living contrary to God’s ways.
Hosea 8:7 states: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. “ This proverb indicates that decisions have consequences. When an individual or nation makes choices that seem insignificant, it can ultimately result in substantial repercussions.
The phrase compares sowing seeds to the wind, something without substance, versus reaping a powerful and destructive whirlwind.
2 Corinthians 9:6
2 Corinthians 9:6 says: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. “ This conveys the principle that the quantity and quality of harvest corresponds to the quantity and quality of seeds sown.
Generous giving results in generous blessings. When believers support God’s work cheerfully and liberally, He promises abundant provision in return.
Biblical Stories Demonstrating What Goes Around Comes Around
Cain and Abel (Genesis 4)
The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 illustrates the concept of consequences for one’s actions. Cain murdered his brother Abel out of jealousy over God preferring Abel’s sacrifice. As punishment, God banished Cain from the land he farmed and cursed him to wander the earth.
This demonstrates the theme of reaping what one sows – Cain faced divine retribution for murdering his innocent brother. His sinful deed came back around to haunt him through his punishment.
David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11&12)
King David abused his power as ruler when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged the death of her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11). The prophet Nathan confronted David about his grievous sins through a parable.
Although David repented, Nathan said his sins would still bear grave consequences – violence in his household, public shame, and the death of his child with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:10-14). David reaped severe repercussions for his selfish actions against Uriah and Bathsheba, illustrating the theme of consequences catching up with people.
Haman’s Plot Against the Jews (Esther 7)
As told in Esther 7, the villain Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews but ended up suffering the very fate he intended for them. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai the Jew. His intended genocide boomeranged back onto himself.
Haman’s prideful scheming led to his humiliating downfall and death. His comeuppance demonstrates the poetic justice of villainous plans backfiring dramatically.
Judas’ Betrayal of Jesus (Matthew 26&27)
Judas exemplified how betrayal leads to misfortune in his interactions with Jesus. After accepting 30 pieces of silver to turn Jesus over to the chief priests, Judas regretted his treacherous decision and hanged himself out of guilt (Matthew 27:5).
His lust for money ultimately cost him his life once his conscience caught up with his deed. Like the other stories, Judas’ case reveals how immoral actions sow destructive seeds that eventually spiral back around on those who commit them.
Applying the Principle in Life and Relationships
Loving Your Neighbor
Jesus taught that we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). This means we should have compassion for others, treat them with kindness, generosity, and forgiveness. We are all children of God and should look out for one another.
When we open our hearts to our neighbors—whether across the street or across the world—we open ourselves to profound connections and community.
There are many ways we can love our neighbors in daily life. Even small acts of kindness can make a difference. For example, we can greet neighbors by name, offer to help someone carry groceries, donate goods or money to those in need, and look for opportunities to encourage others through our words and actions.
The more we give of ourselves in service to others, the more love spreads.
Being Slow to Anger
The Bible teaches us to be slow to anger in many verses, including Proverbs 14:29 and James 1:19. Anger often arises from misunderstanding, hurt feelings, or perceived injustice. However, it can quickly turn to sin when unchecked.
This prevents us from understanding one another or solving problems constructively.
We can apply the principle of being slow to anger in relationships by striving to listen more than react. When we feel upset, it is wise to pause, pray, and consider the other person’s perspective. This allows our feelings to cool down so we can have a thoughtful discussion later.
With patience and understanding, many conflicts can be resolved or avoided altogether.
Forgiveness is central to Christianity, as emphasized in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12). It frees us from bitterness that destroys relationships and our own joy. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean trusting someone again who has hurt you.
However, it does mean letting go of grudges and the desire for revenge. Forgiveness is first a decision, then a process.
We can practice forgiveness in relationships by:
- Admitting when we’ve wronged others and sincerely apologizing
- Letting go of anger toward those who’ve wronged us
- Refusing to bring up past hurts once forgiveness is granted
- Praying for those who’ve hurt us
Though forgiveness is difficult, the freedom it brings is worth the struggle.
The Bible calls us to be generous in many verses, such as Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, and Proverbs 11:24-25. When we give freely of our time, abilities, and resources, we reflect God’s overflowing love and care. We also reap spiritual blessings.
As St. Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.”
We can live generously in relationships by:
- Being a good listener and giving the gift of our presence
- Volunteering together at charities
- Surprising loved ones with small acts of kindness
- Hosting meals, parties, or outings for friends and family
- Donating money or goods to those in need
True generosity springs from love. It strengthens connections, spreads joy, and reveals our shared humanity.
In conclusion, the biblical truth that we reap what we sow serves as both a warning and an encouragement. It cautions us to reflect God’s righteousness in our actions, while assuring us that good deeds, however small, will yield a harvest in due time.
By internalizing this principle, we can foster more Christlike relationships and build a life of meaning.