Jesus once said, 'Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you' ( Matthew 7:1 & 2 ); though this is one of the most popularly ( by Christian & non-Christian alike ) abused passages of Scripture! Most, if not all are quick to quote the first statement, but not so much the last. We hear ( from 'them' ), 'Jesus said not to judge', or, as we have noted recently, many like to say 'only God can judge me'!
We have noted previously, as well, that judgment doesn't necessarily have a bad, or adverse connotation; there is such a thing as a good judgment & though it will usually turn out to be adverse for one who is doing wrong, it has the opposite effect on the one doing right! Take the Story of Job & his friends; though he sure was visited with what seemed to be some pretty adverse judgments, when the Lord finally revealed Himself to Job, it was Job's friends who were about to receive the adverse judgement, whereas Job himself was judged ( to be ) righteous & received the greater inheritance!
'What goes around, comes around', right? 'You reap what you sow' is probably one of the most famous & well-used statements based on Scripture! What a person does with their life is going to eventually come back around, either to bless them or to bit them in the ass. Doing right by everyone is not a guarantee that everyone will treat you in the same manner. On the other hand, being an asshole, treating everybody like crap is not a guarantee that you will receive the same treatment from them, but it is definitely a more sure way to get your ass kicked!
Most parents are more than familiar with this scenario; 'well, Billy did this to me, so I did that to him', or 'because she did this, I did that' ( sounds strangely familiar, right? ( Genesis 3:8-19 ). This is called 'Cause & Effect'; another well-worn ( though not as widely used anymore ) Scriptural injunction is, 'be sure your sin will find you out': the other side of this coin though, is that blessings will also find you if you pursue the way of righteousness. In neither of these scenarios is there a guarantee that either blessing or cursing will be the immediate reward, though that sometimes happens, but you can be sure that when you do wrong on a continual basis, it will eventually come back to bite you in the ass ( heck, even doing wrong ONCE can come back to bite you in the ass! ), but if you do right, be assured that this also, eventually, will return in kind ( sometimes sooner rather than later )!
For the most part, depending on the quality of the individuals involved, the law of cause & effect produces a vicious circle! One person ( the cause ) does something to another ( the effect ); in turn, the one who was affected often becomes the cause of another effect, which may be related to an earlier scenario. Billy hit Johnny, so Johnny hit Billy, causing Billy to hit Johnny again & on & on; the effect, both Billy & Johnny have bloody noses now! If Dad or Mom is there to stop Johnny from hitting Billy back, or even to prevent Billy from hitting Johnny in the first place, then the circle ( cycle? ) is broken, but as most parents know, this is not usually the way it works; most often, Dad & Mom find out that Johnny hit Billy back AFTER the blood is running freely!
Cause & Effect is not only a consideration for the way you treat others; it also has to do with how we treat animals or even inanimate objects! Anybody that owns an automobile, for instance, knows that if you regularly abuse it, you will likely have never-ending problems with it. However, if you change the fluids on a regular basis & follow the owners manual ( drive responsibly ), you will most likely have a fairly long & lasting relationship with your vehicle. Flora will react in much the same way, for example, if you water & care for a plant like you should, the effect will be that you will enjoy its vibrant beauty for as long as everything else works together for its health. Animals, dogs for example, are no different. For instance, the stigma that pitbulls enjoy can be true of any dog when their owner keeps them caged or on a chain all the time. It all depends on how the dog is treated as to whether it will be 'a mean dog' or a nice, good dog!
The circle CAN be broken! Whether you're dealing with human beings, animals, or inanimate things like trees & plants, if YOU are the one to stop the cycle by not responding in kind, then no matter how much anyone tries to keep it rolling, it will eventually fall flat, because the effect will not satisfy the one who wishes to cause the problem. If YOU are the cause, it's even easier to put the brakes on, causing the problem to come to a shuddering halt; by not, as they say, making an issue of it, the problem can be nipped in the bud. Hence, we come to the conclusion of the matter!
Like judgment, Cause & Effect is not necessarily a bad thing; it can, in fact, be a very blessed one! An example might be, 'well, she smiled at me from across the room, so I married her', or even, on a slightly darker note, 'He/she showed me much-needed kindness, so I decided that life WAS worth living'. The choices WE make in how any given cause affects us determines, not only if the circle will keep rolling, but if the circle will be vicious or not!
It's up to YOU; will you keep the vicious circle going, or will you bring it to a grinding halt? More importantly, will you stand on the side of good judgment & determine that the circle will be blessed & that it will remain unbroken? Choose wisely!
Charles Haddon Shank