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Good Intentions Aren't Always Good!
Bible study on intentions.

I remember a story in the news concerning a man who was at a neighbor's party. He returned home to get something he needed, and heard a noise. Thinking a burglar was hiding in the closet, he opened the door and shot the intruder.

Immediately, the man realized he had shot and killed his daughter. Later, he learned she was hiding in the closet as part of a game or joke.

This is a sad example of the fact that good intentions aren't always good.

Choices can result in failure, even if our intentions are good.

In Luke 14:28-30, Jesus emphasizes careful decision making, while illustrating the lesson with a man's intention to build a tower. He says, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it --- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'"

We may have good intentions, but Jesus teaches us to count the cost before acting to accomplish our intentions. I'm sure you can relate to this lesson. Who hasn't seen good intentions spoiled by poor decisions?

Like Repairing a VCR
I can relate this lesson to an attempt at VCR repair. One day I tore into my VCR with the intention of freeing a jammed tape (it was jammed because my daughter put a toy key chain into the slot before cramming in a tape).

I took the VCR apart, but failed to free the jammed tape. Then, when I tried to put the VCR back together, I failed again. The tape was still jammed, and now the VCR was in pieces.

If I had counted the cost before looking for a screwdriver, I would have taken the VCR to a repair shop rather than destroying it.

You see, good intentions aren't necessarily bad. But the choices we make to accomplish our intentions, render the result good or bad.

We Can't Sin to Accomplish Good Intentions
Herod harassed the church. In doing so, he killed the apostle James. Since Herod saw this pleased the Jews, he imprisoned Peter with the intent of putting him to death to gain favor with the Jews (Acts 12:1-4).

The intent to please the Jews was not necessarily wrong. In fact, one may argue that it was politically necessary from Herod's view. But the problem arises in the manner Herod sought to please the Jews --- namely murder.

As a sinful man, Herod was willing to murder a person to accomplish his good intentions. But as children of God, we must seek to accomplish good intentions through righteous means rather than sinful acts.

Good Intentions Do Not Justify Sin
Paul, speaking before the Sanhedrin, professed to have lived with a "perfectly good conscience before God up to this day" (Acts 23:1). While doing so, he locked up saints in prison, cast his vote to put them to death, punished them in the synagogues, tried to force them to blaspheme, and pursued them to foreign cities (Acts 26:11-12).

Before becoming a Christian, Paul had good intentions while persecuting Christians. Yet he was lost in sin. He had to be baptized, washing away his sin, and calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).

From Paul we learn that good intentions do not justify sin!

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions!
One day I was listening to G. Gordon Liddy as he discussed the Great Depression with an economist. They were united in their view that congress worsened the depression by government involvement, rather than allowing our free market economy to make the correction. When making this point, the economist said he wasn't questioning congress' intentions, but their good intentions didn't change the devastating result of their actions.

Mr. Liddy agreed, commenting that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I began to think about Mr. Liddy's profound and thought-provoking statement. It's true, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. A person may have good intentions, but the method of achieving the intention may result in disaster.

Obedience Counts, Not Intentions
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'" (Matt. 7:21-23).

Some people who have good intentions, able to perform magnificent works upon the earth, will be surprised at the judgment. They won't enter heaven because they didn't obeyed God. They will be surprised to learn that obedience counts, not intentions.

Just like a young person who intends to do her homework after school, but falls asleep; she goes to school the next day and gets an F. It doesn't matter whether we intend to obey God or not, all that matters is whether we obey.

Sin is sin. Good intentions are only good if we follow through with righteous actions in obedience to God --- the road to hell is paved with good intentions!