The Law of Cause and Effect

Whatever we do, we do it for ourselves. Whatever undertaking we engage in, we do it for ourselves. We may convince ourselves that we do certain things for others or even for God. Ultimately, however, we do whatever we do for ourselves. This is because, according to the law of cause and effect, everything we do eventually comes back to us. This is an immutable principle of nature.

Jesus often referred to this principle in his teachings and accentuated its uncompromising role in the existential arrangement. In the gospel of today, he said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” (Lk. 6:38).

What is Received

One interesting thing about the principle of cause and effect is that the effect, that is, what is received in return, is multiplied generously. It is like sowing and reaping. A single grain of corn sown in the earth does not return just as a single grain but rather as many grains. This principle applies to everything in nature. It is for this reason that Jesus said, “give” without mentioning what one should give. It means then “anything,” “whatever”. The “whatever” will come back in a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over”. It could be acts of love or acts of wickedness. Or, it could be a simple smile or a little hateful word. It will definitely come back to its agent in an increased measure.

Through the words above, Jesus made his audience aware of the fact that, though they might think that some of their actions (good or bad) are intended for others, they themselves are the ultimate receivers of the actions. Accordingly, he instructed his followers: “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” (Matt. 7:12). “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Lk. 6:37). Life is all about giving and taking back what we have given.


This same principle was implied in one of the events that took place during the passion of Christ. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane as the soldiers wanted to arrest Jesus. Peter drew his sword and struck at the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. He was ready to fight, but Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place! For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” That says all about the principle of cause and effect: Whatever we sow, we will eventually reap. For as Jesus said in the gospel of today, “the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Thus, whatever we do to others comes to us. If you wish to be happy, cause others to be happy. To prosper, cause others to prosper. If you wish to be loved, show others love. Whatever you wish to experience in life, make others experience. However, this must be done with a pure heart and not because you seek any personal gain. It must be rather because you sincerely want the other person to have this awesome experience and, as Jesus said, whatever you give out will come back in an increased measure. If we are conscious of this natural principle, we will carefully consider the choices we make in relation to others.

[Readings: Dn 9:4b-10; Lk 6:36-38]

Fr. Venatius Oforka

Fr. Venatius Chukwudum Oforka is a moral theologian. He was born in Nigeria and ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Orlu. He is presently working in St. Martins parish, Oberstadion in Rottenburg-Stuttgart Diocese, Germany. Among his publications are The Bleeding Continent: How Africa became Impoverished and why it Remains Poor and The Art of Spiritual Warfare: The Secrete Weapons Satan can’t Withstand.

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