The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright.
This wise saying contrasts two very different characters — “the guilty” and “the innocent”– and how they roll!
“Guilty” is a rare term used only here in the Hebrew Bible. Originally “criminal,” the term suggests one legally convicted — “criminal” in their character!
And “the way of” such guilty/criminal characters “is devious” or “crooked.” They’re “crooks” in their thinking (“the guilty”) and their dealings with other people (“devious”)!
In stark contrast, “The conduct of the innocent is upright.” Called “innocent” — pure, flawless and clean — by their character, their “conduct” and every day dealing with others is “upright,” straightforward and on the level.
This wise saying is just a statement of fact about different kinds of people and life in general. But it does offer some meaningful thoughts to me.
We’re all “criminally guilty” in our character before God! I really have no defense.
Yet Jesus came and died on the Cross to make me acceptable — “innocent,” pure, clean and flawless” before God — in spite of all my shortcomings.
Consequently, through Him I now have the empowerment to be that “upright,” straightforward and on the level person in my thinking and activities.
This proverb’s all about me!