6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.
7 When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
he causes their enemies to make peace with them.
8 Better a little with righteousness
than much gain with injustice.
One of the many inherent consequences of sin is the deterioration of relationships. “As long as I’m not hurting anyone” is an unwise justification for anything, as one ought also to consider whether an act will be harmful to oneself. A person whose behavior distorts his relationships may not be overtly hurting anyone else, but he will suffer the consequences of isolation and self-hatred. The antidote to such decay is love and faithfulness. While sin requires the sacrifice of relationship for the sake of desire, love demands the sacrifice of desire for the sake of relationship. Faithfulness is a commitment to stay true to another, while all sin is betrayal to some extent.
Sin not only impairs our relationships with one another, it also distances us from the Lord. In the moment of temptation, when desire is strongest, it is wise to pause and consider what is at stake. The more committed you are to those you love, the more you recognize accountability to the Lord, the easier it is to resist temptation. Not only can negative consequences be avoided, there also are many benefits of good conduct. Peace with others and with the Lord are worthy ambitions, how much more to have peace with one’s enemies!
“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” The righteous person, though he may have little, is at peace. By contrast the unjust person may be wealthy, but he is also rich in worries. What is the value of peace? It is worth the cost of doing things right, of choosing love and faithfulness over enmity and dishonesty. What good is wealth if it comes with anxiety? Can one be happy if he is not at peace? Choose your paths by destination and not intention, there are many ways to wealth which end in unhappiness.