“There is a way that seems right…” is an open-ended statement in that the way that seems right is undefined. Surely these ways are in full view of the Lord that leads to death as is stated concerning the wicked’s evil deeds in chapter 5:21-23. Still, why did the Lord through Solomon make this an open-ended proverb?
The intent of Proverb 14:12 is to help the reader begin to examine the way they are living. Still, if a person believes that the way they are living is right, meaning the way God intends them to live, can that person be convinced to examine their lives in light of God’s word? And even if that person becomes convinced that their way of living is leading to death will they have the power and will to change their ways?
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in “The Plight of Man and the Power of God” wrote to his generation in the middle of WWII, “In the same way as morality alone fails, the gospel of Christ succeeds. It starts with God and exists to glorify His holy Name. It restores man into the right relationship to Him, reconciling him to God through the blood of Christ. It tells man that he is more important than his own actions or his environment and that when he is put right, he must then proceed to put them right. It caters for the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, intellect, desire and will, by giving him the most exalted view of all, and filling him with a passion and a desire to live the good life in order to express his gratitude to God for His amazing love. And it provides him with power. In the depth of his shame and misery as the result of his sin and failure, it restores him by assuring him that Christ has died for him and his sins, and that God has forgiven him. It calls him to a new life and a new start, promising him power that will overcome sin and temptation, and will at the same time enable him to live the life he believed and knows he ought to live.”