“Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Proverbs 14:22)
So much for the ends justify the means. Evil plans with good intentions, according to proverbs, still leads to death. On the other hand, we may be looking at this and thinking, “I’ve been good, I’ve not devised evil, but done things God’s way. So where’s the steadfast love and faithfulness?” God’s promises are true and met by God. We must be good, steadfast in love and faithfulness, even when others are not. Or strive to. Most of us ought to be more concerned about stumbling into evil than devising it deliberately.
Proverbs also tend to be a rule of thumb–seeking the good of others is the path that is most likely to encourage others to show us steadfast love and faithfulness in return. As Jesus observed, even gentiles (i.e. non-Christians) love those who love them. Truthfully, it is primarily sociopaths, narcissists, and other sorts of wolves who such efforts are wasted on.
And, in God’s eyes, even better than receiving love and faithfulness from others is cultivating those qualities in us.
We thank you, God, that you have loved us and chosen us. May the gospel come to us not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in full conviction. Give us boldness in God to do the work you have called us to. We pray we would not act out of error, impurity, or any attempt to deceive, but with assurance from you that you have approved us and entrusted us with this work. May we speak and act, not to please man, to please you, the God who tests our hearts. May we never speak words of flattery or out of greed. We pray we would never seek glory from people, but be gentle with each other. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.