There is a common saying that “the ends justify the means.” And it is a lie.

Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of people that believe it. There are those in the United States that believe that violence is justified to destroy what they disagree with. A young man wrote to Dennis Prager telling him about a friend that said he would kill whoever he needed to in order to accomplish his goals. And Nazis thought that killing Jews and violent conquest were necessary to make Germany powerful. And Robespierre thought that killing the aristocrats was necessary to improve France.

They were, and are, wrong because the ends never justify the means.

Why is that? Well, before I can answer that, we must consider another common saying, a true one this time: “you reap what you sow.”

If you think about what that means in the context of accomplishing an end, it becomes obvious why the ends never justify the means: if you sow bad actions on the way to accomplishing an end, even a supposed good end, you will sow bad ends.

Robespierre met the same end he gave others. The Nazis were deposed by violent conquest, hunted, and put on trial. That young man’s friend will probably be killed himself if he continues on his path. And the violent revolutionaries will find that their revolution will eat its own.

On the other hand, if you strive to only use good means to accomplish your desired ends, and give recompense for those times when you make a mistake, then you will find that your desired good ends will, in fact, follow naturally from the good seeds you had sown.

So the next time you hear that “the ends justify the means,” especially when someone is using it to commit violence or other sins against others, you will know the lie and that they do not have good ends in mind.