Faith Fellowship Church…PO Box 1586, Broken Arrow, OK 74013…Pastor Terry Dashner…
Reciprocity is our word for today. One dictionary defines the word: to give correspondingly. If you lived in Old Testament times, you might have related reciprocity in judicial terms like, “an eye for an eye.” If you are a student of the New Testament, you might associate reciprocity with the spiritual principle—“…whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” If you view the world through physics, you might relate it to Newton’s third law of motion—to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you…I think you get the point.
I am, like you, philosophical by nature. And one philosophy I review often is this. I am today what I planted yesterday. So if I don’t like what I’ve become, then I need to change the seeds I’m planting today. In relating this concept to reciprocity, I want to say this. What I plant in the lives of others is what I’ll receive in return. Let me illustrate, please. If I pass you on the street with a smile and favorable greeting, more then likely, you will reciprocate with a similar greeting; however if I smack you, I can expect a surprise greeting.
I want to carry this thought a little further. If reciprocity and sowing and reaping are valid principles, is it any wonder why so many American youth are so quick to resort to violence when things don’t go their way. Cal Thomas writes, “Why should young people take life seriously when their overworked, aborting, day-care, euthanasia culture does not? Life is so cheap, relationships are so meaningless—children get the message. When you mix the ingredients for cake, you get cake. When you mix the volatile ingredients of corrupted culture, vulgar entertainment and broken, loveless families, you get child killers.” Well, maybe we should read the last part of Cal’s words as hyperbole (not every unloved child grows up to be a killer); nevertheless, we do reap what we sow into the lives of our children.
Kurt Thompson, a Washington, D.C.-area psychiatrist whose clients include adolescents, sees today’s teens suffering from ‘a horrid sense of disconnection.’ They’re connected technically through the Internet, but they’re disconnected relationally. Too many parents, he says, think by the time their children become teen-agers their job is almost done and that other forces will complete the shaping of young minds and spirits. Oh sure, we can put metal detectors at the schoolhouse door, but who makes mental and moral detectors.
Having served a number of years in law enforcement, I’m well aware that enforcing existing laws to curtail youth violence does not solve the problem. We were told in the 90s that the Brady bill would protect us against gun violence. It didn’t. We were told that passing more anti-gun and anti-violence laws would reduce teen violence. That hasn’t worked either. The reality is we already have more then enough anti-gun laws on the books, so why should we pass more legislation? Federal prosecutors are reluctant to prosecute the existing anti-gun and anti-violence laws. The answer to violence is not more regulations and more legislation. The answer is simple but requires work. The work involves sowing positive messages about the value of human life. The work involves sowing seeds like, “love thy brother as thy self.” The work involves sowing seeds like
kindness, selflessness, caring, truth, honor, “giving honor to whom honor is due.” These seeds produce like kind.
I want to encourage you dear Christian. Although our way of life is old fashioned and spurned by many modernists, it’s still the only way. Jesus, Himself, said that He was the Way. Through His love, we address the world His way—the only way—the way of the Book. God’s Word teaches us that laying down our lives for each other, we are living the way of the Cross, and the Cross of Calvary is the best way to stem the violence. A changed heart leads to a changed way of life, which can change the world for better; therefore, reciprocate with good and note the return of a good corresponding action.
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