Proverbs 12:5-7

5 The plans of the righteous are just,

   but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.

6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,

   but the speech of the upright rescues them.

7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,

   but the house of the righteous stands firm.


 The righteous are considerate of justice not only in the moment, but also in their plans for the future. They may have thoughts of pursuing the right things in the wrong way, but they dismiss them in consideration of the costs. Above all they seek to live in harmony with God and with others, and are not willing to sacrifice that for the sake of ill-gotten gain. The wicked, by contrast, have no regard for harmony. They are deceitful, always looking for a way to take advantage of someone, always pursuing ulterior motives.

 The wicked love to ambush others, and have no sympathy for their victims. Though they may find more success in producing their own wealth, they spend their time scheming ways to plunder others’. This is the only thing in which they are diligent. They listen closely to what you say, but only because they hope to trap you. The upright, being careful in their speech, are able to avoid such traps. Have you ever been caught with your own words? Remember what is at stake, and be considerate in what you say.

 Though the wicked and righteous may both prosper for a while, eventually they will reach the end of their chosen paths. The path of righteousness leads to satisfaction, while the path of wickedness leads to disaster. When all is said and done, what advantage did the wicked have? They may have worked just as hard as the righteous, but in such a way as to undermine themselves. They thought they had chosen the easy way, but it turned out to be much more burdensome. The righteous pursue goodness and get satisfaction thrown in; the wicked pursue satisfaction and end up with nothing.

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