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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Trusting the Law of Reciprocity

Major degrees of faith rely on trusting the law of reciprocity.

Commonly known as ‘what comes around, goes around’, the law of reciprocity suggests humanity returns like for like. But if we are to use it for good we need faith.

Just a few simple examples:

Someone treats us badly and we respond as we should – well, in this case – but then they continue to treat us badly; we take the law into our own hands and soon we are treating them badly. We have reached down and have declined to their standard.

Someone who we are colleagues with, who we greet every morning with a genteel “hello,” sometimes returns the greeting, but often they fob us off. We get to thinking, “It isn’t good enough; how disrespectful!” So we stop greeting them as a kind person would.

Someone is doing poorly and we decide to give them a gift to encourage them, but we don’t receive what we expect in return; a ‘thank you’. What will we do?


For the person who treats us badly, and they continue to do so notwithstanding our treating them with respect, can only improve their response to us if we continue to treat them with respect. Trusting the law of reciprocity – which is to acknowledge that people will return like for like – means we have faith that ultimately our overtures of respect might turn into their eventual respecting of us.

For the person who occasionally doesn’t respond to our greeting, again, we are advised to keep greeting them in grace. Trusting the law of reciprocity is holding out faith they will see our grace – given of God – and respond in turn. For, what do we prove when we trust this law of reciprocity? We prove our kindness is from God – that it is genuine.

And then we finally come to the gift that is given, yet not received with gratitude. This is a lesson in expectations; we have given a gift, yet we have expected to receive. Whatever is not received with gratitude on their part still requires grace on our part. Indeed, we might rise up above the ego and surrender the ego to God; the Lord will see that we are blessed.


Trusting the law of reciprocity is the extension of faith in the flow of life. Reciprocity says we receive like for like. If we keep being compassionate, kind, patient, and generous we will ultimately receive that which we are giving.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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