25 Yea, he saith unto them: Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy; behold, this is no harm. And thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him.
26 And thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare.
27 And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.
28 Verily, verily, I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.
This verse powerfully illustrates that one of Satan’s most powerful deceptions – that we are justified to act badly in response to what we perceive as the unjust or wicked conduct of others. The well known saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions apply.” We come to perceive slights in others and rationalize conduct that we would never otherwise do in response.
To be fair, there are instances where wicked conduct justifies a response that otherwise would be inappropriate. Christ threw out the money lenders and Nephi killed Laban to give just to give two examples. But we are far too quick to judge others with a harsh light. In doing so, we not only miss the beam in our eyes, but we insert more and more beams into them.
Much sorrow and heartbreak could be avoided if we resisted the temptation to rationalize away our behavior. Marriages would be saved if we did not blame the other for starting it first. Wars would be avoided if we were less quick to pick up arms and retaliate. Forgiveness and a bit of humility would go along way towards healing much of what ails us.