“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” - Proverbs 21:21
Righteousness is a big word. Solomon puts it before love. Pursuing love on its own is not something that works out well for people. But pursuing righteousness and love is rewarding.
Recently, a shamed drunken footballer pretended to have sex with a dog when a woman turned him down. He had not pursued love righteously.
Righteous is a word remodelled by William Tyndale, a bible translator, for the word rightwis, which approximates a word appearing hundreds of times in the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament. It might loosely translate in a modern sense as Right ways or right wise. The idea of being right before God is baffling to some. Sometimes, the righteous may break the law, or be extreme. Sometimes Pastors are wrong in their interpretation of the bible, and yet people are saved as a result.
It is foolishness to pursue love. But to pursue righteousness and love echoes Jesus’ commandment at the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
The reward for pursuing love on its own is of itself unsatisfying. Self serving is never as rewarding as serving God.