12 There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.
13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and rejoicing may end in grief.
14 The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways,
and the good rewarded for theirs.
Things are often not as they seem. Perhaps the most dangerous path is that of religious pride, for who is more convinced that they are right? It is possible to do the “right” thing for selfish motives; driven by pride instead of gratitude, seeking to manipulate the Lord under the guise of honoring him. “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” Just as good works may be motivated by pride, laughter may be motivated by sorrow. It is essential to monitor your heart, “for everything you do flows from it.” Whatever you find there, bring it to the Lord. He offers forgiveness to those who repent, comfort to those who mourn, hope to the hopeless and guidance to the lost.
“The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs.” It is tempting to be discouraged by the success of the faithless and the persecution of the good. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Remember who he is and what he has promised – he will not let injustice prevail.