“Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.”
– Psalm 37:27
I recall sitting in the office of an executive with the Wall Street firm where I was once employed discussing the challenges of dealing with unethical or marginally ethical people within our industry. (Every profession has them, by the way.) The executive with whom I was meeting made a comment I will never forget. Bad people never last, he assured me. Eventually they go too far, step over the line, and get caught resulting in disciplinary action, firing, revoked licenses, law suits, or prosecution – and on rare occasions all the above. I disagreed at the time; for it seemed these clever shysters were ever present in my world placing an enormous burden on my staff and me to constantly monitor and police their activities – not the best use of our time and energy. It’s just a fact of life, though, that from petty dishonesty to crime to terrorism to murderous dictatorships, evil is forever among us, and indeed has been throughout the history of mankind.
Someone once said that no matter how things may appear, there is no future in evil, only in good. Pondering that has caused me to take heart; for discouraging as it is when it seems the bad guys win, when we consider that throughout history when evil actually is defeated – and it always is eventually, though not necessarily within our lifetimes – it is because in some way good has prevailed, thus validating that there is no future in evil, only in good. Or as my old Wall Street executive friend assured me, bad people never last.
On Mount Sinai Moses received the same assurance from the Lord himself who said, “. . . for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
So, we should take heart in doing good, for by doing so we are paving a path for the future; as there is no future in evil, only in good. Or as the Psalmist affirms, “. . . do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.”