Over the years, I have encountered many “successful” people in ministry. On the outside, they are “getting it done”. But I’ve always struggled with those who have less regard for “how” it gets done. I’ve met many who have adopted an unsaid policy of doing whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it breaks a few rules.
I once worked with an administrator who had become a master of working around the rules, finding loopholes in policies, which were in place for a reason, but didn’t suit their ambition and willingness to submit to authority.
One example I remember was discovering that on numerous occasions this individual encouraged those under their leadership to keep projects under a certain dollar amount, and then make multiple phases of those projects, all in an effort to circumvent the administrations involvement in approving such a request. It was a deliberate attempt to maintain control of something that was intentionally in place to avoid a host of issues. It was a moral issue, and the more I see it it usually is just the tip of the iceberg. And in this case it was true.
The phrase “the end justifies the means”, is not sound Biblically, but this is how many, even those claiming to be Christians live their life.
For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; Romans 3:7–9 KJV
Paul expresses here that this kind of thinking makes us just as bad as any other condemned sinner. A “form of Godliness” is no replacement for true Godliness. Apparently some even attempted to justify doing so by saying that Paul himself participated in such a practice. But here he makes it abundantly clear that he doesn’t support, never said, and doesn’t believe that there is any way God approves “the end justifies the means”. How we do what we do matters to God and is a sign of our faith.
What we do when no one sees, shortcuts on doing our job the right way, a way around the rules, laziness, thoroughness, excellence in our work… these all matter to God and may not be ever seen by man, but will be rewarded justly by God. So while the end doesn’t justify the means… the means will be how we can expect to be judged in the end. So set out to live your life with “Just Means”.
Dr. Ronald J. Barnes Jr.
November 30, 2022