Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Intentions versus Actions

I feel like I'm right on the edge of a breakthrough idea...then again, it may not be, but I still would like to flesh it out. I'm wrestling with the ideas of our intentions and our actions. Sometimes we have good intentions, but we do the wrong actions. Other times we have the wrong intentions as we are doing the right actions. 

An example of this would be found in Matthew 21:28-32

Two other examples are found in Proverbs:
Proverbs 21:2 NLT - We may think we're doing "good" but the LORD examines the heart.
Proverbs 21:27 NLT - God loathes the sacrifice of those with ulterior motives.

So are both bad? If you have the right intentions, but do the wrong actions, is that okay, or is it still damaging to do the wrong actions? Same for the other, is it ever okay to have the wrong intentions, but do the right actions?

I love equations! Sometimes equations help you to flesh out an idea...sometimes they don't. An example of a good equation would be: change of pace + change of place = change of perspective. That is an equation created by Mark Batterson. Help me to feel in the blanks for your ideas of what the answer to the equations for the following would be:

right intentions + wrong actions = 

wrong intentions + right actions =


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  3. Just some of my thoughts and what comes to mind when trying to answer the equations.

    Just my thoughts..and I might be way off..but here is how I'd answer the equations...

    right intentions + wrong actions = not waiting on Godwrong intentions + right actions = trying to put on a show and having a front, most people in this category want self recognition and not God recognitionMakes me think but to one of our study's in Samuel and I cam up with this quote and now have it on my wall in my office:

    Intentions speak louder than actions or words to God, so where's your heart?

  4. good thoughts Josh, this is a good start...

    right intentions + wrong actions = not waiting on God

    wrong intentions + right actions = poser*

    * my interpretation - :-)

  5. Hmmm. makes one put on the thinking hat for sure.

    Either way you go with those equations, it will equal misalignment. So what does one do with the sum of the parts that are both right and wrong?

    Reminds me of situational ethics. The choosing of a direction even if it wrong morally,,,, to achieve the end results you desire that would seem right.

    Such as to rob a bakery to feed the poor. Justifying the actions...would be seen through right intentions. Or in reverse....I robbed the baker, because he was a selfish man in my eyes..and then I will give the bread to the poor to justify my actions.

    Either way you go it is still misalignment. So what is the answer. I personally think that right thinking leads to right actions. Right actions lead to right thinking. What produces this is having one's heart in order with the Scriptures and learning to be led by the Holy Spirit.

  6. I liked Josh's point,wrong intentions+right actions= poser.
    That makes me think of Judas when he said the money Mary was "wasting"on annointing Jesus' feet would be better spent on the poor.
    Elder James used a word I heard a lot growing up in the 60's-situation ethics. When we have to rationalize our thoughts or behavior you can bet it's because sin is involved.
    If I sold drugs but only used the money to buy food for my family and put a rood over their heads and for good measure, put a little something in the offering plate of course the selling of drugs wuld still be wrong=sin. The end doesn't justify the means.
    So doing wrong+good intentions is still shall we say the "S" word? SIN!

  7. I agree with elder James on his last point that right thinking eventually will lead to right action. In the case of Peter it was this- Right intention(No Lord I will not deny you I would die for you). Wrong action( I Don't know the Man!!! cockadoodle doo)= Eventual lining up of actions to intentions with Jesus' help( Peter standing up and eventually actually really dieing for the cause of Christ.

    And the other way around as Laurie said- right action (Judas giving money to the poor)wrong intention Judas really wants to keep it for himself for he often caught a case of sticky fingers)= the intention usually wins out and nothing actually good ends up happening for any one else or for the one with the bad intention.

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  9. right intentions + wrong actions = laziness or
    right intentions + wrong actions = poor planning
    either way it= failure

    There have been times in my life when I had the best intentions and didn’t follow through. I did not achieve what I set out to, I fell short. It usually had nothing to do with outside factors but everything to do with me. I simply didn’t count the cost of achieving said goal and as a result, I failed.
    There have been times I have achieved something I set out to do. There have been times when my good intentions were lived out. Those instances have come when I prepared properly and did not stop working until I was finished.
    The other equation = lucky or poser:)