In Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25, we read these words: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of destruction.” This is a significant verse in Proverbs and it is stated twice. I personally believe it is mentioned twice because of its importance.
In the verse, the word “way” is used twice. It is derived from the Hebrew word derek, which means road or pathway. We are being told that each of us is on a pathway that is leading us in a certain direction.
This makes it clear that there is a pathway that appears to be good and right but in fact leads us in a direction that will bring pain, regret, and possibly destruction into our lives. While it may seem like the right path at the outset, it is not.
I was reminded of this teaching recently as I read about the life of John DeLorean. He was the youngest division head ever at General Motors and was destined for greatness. Then, in 1969, his eyes were opened when he visited the retired president of GM.
Instead of a contented, retired king of industry, he found a hollow shell of a man, sad and lonely; his life seemed purposeless and irrelevant. All he wanted to do was reminisce about the good old days when he ran the company. DeLorean saw his own future in the man and was badly shaken. “Why are you doing all this?” he asked himself afterward. “You’re just like one of the machines. Suddenly you’ll get obsolete and worn out, and they’ll scrap you.”
So, DeLorean decided to go down a different path. It was a path that seemed good and right for him and his future.
He started by divorcing his wife of fifteen years and marrying a twenty-year-old, divorcing her three years later to marry someone even younger. Meanwhile, he lost forty pounds, dyed his hair, got plastic surgery on his face, started writing a novel about nuclear war, and talked publicly about “neoreligious metamorphosis.”
He left GM and started his own car company called the DeLorean Motor Company. Today it is primarily remembered for the car featured in the popular film, Back to the Future. Unfortunately, the cars were poorly made and did not have much power, sending him and his company into bankruptcy.
In a desperate effort to raise the cash needed to keep his empire from crashing down, he turned to the drug business. In 1982, at age fifty-seven, he was busted after attempting to sell fifty-nine pounds of cocaine to a federal agent.
After this, DeLorean’s young wife divorced him. He was broken and humiliated.
Life ended badly for John DeLorean. He chose to go down a path that seemed good and exciting and would lead to his well-being. However, it was a path that led to destruction.
We should all pay close attention to Solomon’s words, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of destruction.”
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.