The end justifies the means – according to Walt.
Life hasn’t gone as it should have. He’s brilliant but unrecognized. His career began with such promise and yet his contemporaries have advanced far beyond him now, leaving him in a poorly paid teaching role. Oh – and in 18 months – he expects to be dead from cancer.
His family will be vulnerable when he’s gone – which is why he needs to make some serious cash to leave behind NOW. Even if it means breaking the law by making and selling drugs. . Yet his intentions are noble – right?
The end justifies the means. His means are breaking the law – the end will be financial security for his family. That is…according to Walt.
The truth of the matter tho – is that he’s not just breaking the law. He is being drawn in…changed. As he gets deeper into the criminal underworld…he is faced with choice after choice to become more and more like the bad people around him. He’s not just doing bad for a little while…he is becoming bad with no way out.
Tragically – he is alienating the family that he loves in the process. He is poisoning what little time he has left with them. Walt is poisoning the lives of people round about him. Like the very cancer that is eating at his body, Walt is becoming a cancer in his local community. He is becoming a destructive influence on so many lives…from his partner Jesse, to the users of his “product”.
Here’s the thing – the end NEVER justifies the means. The means matters as much as the end matters.
Whenever I have to try to justify the means – it is because I am uncomfortable with the means. We instinctively know our actions are either morally wrong – or certainly dangerous.
And it is so easy to go there ourselves. I don’t think I am too different from Walt. I have such a fine tuned capacity for self-delusion. A little dabble here and there – it won’t hurt. I am in control of this situation – I can opt out whenever I want to. Well – Walt’s story is an illustration of just what a dangerous delusion that is.
“Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21, The Message
God’s advice in all of this is – get real. If you play with fire then you will get burned. A little evil will eventually overcome us. The evil we so easily submit to in our lives will corrupt us. But the great thing about Christianity is this. The goodness and the love that God freely offers us will have positive trans-formative power on us.
Have you ever noticed that – sometimes the kettle in your kitchen gets filled with an odd deposit called limescale? It is the result of minerals in your water supply. In some areas – the water is so hard and full of these minerals that they coat the heating element of the kettle. So we make a cup of coffee which ends up having nasty bits in it. This isn’t particularly nice to drink – and eventually the kettle will stop working all together.
But – the kettle doesn’t have to break. The coffee doesn’t have to be nasty. We can descale the kettle and keep it working properly. Of course – rather than descaling the kettle – most people today will simply throw the old one away and buy a fresh and new one.
But we can’t throw our hearts away and start afresh with new ones.
The little, self-justified, evil choices I make in my life will build up and deposit “limescale” in my heart. They will clog me up…and eventually get the better of me. But it doesn’t have to be so. I can descale my life. I do it by letting the goodness of God into the inside of my life…and let Him melt away the hardness that has formed there.
As he changes me on the inside – the quality of my actions also changes. People who allow God to descale their own hearts, become people who God uses to descale communities. They become positive change agents in the world. They become people who overcome evil by doing God empowered good. And that’s not hype or fantasy – it happens to ordinary people like you and me.
In the final analysis – however we might try to justify and argue – the choices we make matter. They have consequences – every single one. Consequences for us – and those around us. So surrender your heart to the one who loves you – who wants the best for you – and has the power to change you.
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8, The Message