“The thoughts of the righteous [are] right: [but] the counsels of the wicked [are] deceit.”
It is not often that I choose to quote another author, but I found the following words instructive.
“The plans of the righteous are right.” His designs are well-intentioned and morally sound because the mind of the righteous man is disciplined by wisdom. On the other hand, “the counsels of the wicked are deceit.” Their warped minds invent crooked methods for reaching their goals. To them the end always justifies the means.”*
Do you ever stop to think about the “ends?” In other words, do you ever stop to think about the results of your actions, or your thoughts? Do you plan ahead? Do you think about consequences?
The “thoughts of the righteous are right” because the righteous have right hearts. And because of their righteous thoughts, the means to an end matter just as much as the result. They want to do what is right, because it is right.
On the other hand, the wicked think only of self-gratifying goals. As the above quote says, “To them the end always justifies the means.” Because of an unwise, wicked heart, what is right does not matter, only the desired result.
I have known many salesmen over the years. As a matter of fact, I was a pretty successful one, myself. And if there was anything that characterized a salesman, it was the desire to make a sale, to “close the deal,” even if his “counsel” was a little deceitful.
The problem with many salespeople is that they will tell you whatever you want to hear, even things you don’t, in order to sell a product or service. What the customer needs or can afford is rarely a consideration when sales bonuses and large paychecks are at stake. As long as a dollar can be made, it is thought “the end justifies the means.”
So how do you know when you have met a “righteous” salesman? When he won’t sell you something, even when you think you want it. Happily, I can say that there were times I did just that, even when the rent was due. Taking advantage of customer was wrong, and even though I might have needed the money, the end didn’t justify the means.
Dear Lord, give us a righteous heart that thinks right things. Keep us from wicked and deceitful thoughts. Give us a heart for others over the needs of self. Reprove us, Jesus, when we are tempted to deceive, for what waits in the end is anything but gain.
*James E. Smith, The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1996), Pr 12:2–7.