The Bible works as literature, not only because it cuts to the nerve root, making us jump with often unwanted recognition — "Yeah, that could very well be me that Luke is talking about" — but also because its messages are unadorned. Listen to St. Paul trying to knock some heads together among bickering converts: "The good that I would, I do not; but the evil I would not, that I do." (Romans 7:19) Or as I prefer, "Though I know the good, I do not do the good."
St. Paul forces us to examine this discrepancy between intention and choice, and implicitly asks: The discrepancy is a function of something, but of what? It is a question lawyers should ask themselves and their clients. Cognitive theory tells us we cannot hold two conflicting ideas in our brains — "I am a good person" with "I did something wrong." So to avoid the second, lawyers rationalize it into oblivion by perversely doing yet another bad act to prove that the first was not so bad after all. Ecclesiastes is right: "For God made man upright, but he has found many devices." The trick is to acknowledge the bad at once. In employment law, the area in which I specialize, this is especially important.
If action is not taken, imagine a good plaintiffs lawyer playing out this string with a jury in a sexual harassment case: "Yes, the employer knew it should have stopped the harassment. It had so many opportunities to do so, and so many ways to do it, but the managers didn't. For whatever reason, as St. Paul wrote, they knew the right, but they did not do the right. Fill in the blank for punitives."