Beyond Good Intentions

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

It has been said that Lucius B. Northrop was one of the “most detested” men in the Confederacy during America’s Civil War. Author Charles Dufour said that barely three people “in the entire Confederacy had a kind word” for him: Northrop himself, his wife, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis (who had appointed him Commissary General). He was so unpopular that many blamed him for “most of the ills visited upon the Confederacy during the Civil War.”

Observing Northrop’s conduct, two noted historians observed that he had “good intentions, but his judgment was questionable and his ability limited.” Even though he meant well, Northrup was so ineffective that the results were unacceptable. In the process, he alienated just about everyone.

Many people go through life motivated by good intentions. In fact, a well-used phrase (with origins back many centuries) claims that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Good intentions may reflect a desire to do the right thing, but, by themselves, aren’t enough. We might imagine that others evaluate us based on what we think or feel we want to do. But more important is what we actually do and say.

In fact, many people say one thing but do another. Some are intentionally deceptive but others “intend” to do the right thing but fail to follow through.

The Bible encourages us to remember that we demonstrate our real intentions by what we do. If we say we have faith, for example, we will prove that faith through actions.

In your life, ask God to show you if you are making promises but not keeping them. Don’t assume that others know your intentions, or that intentions are good enough. Remember that others are watching what you do, not just what you say. They see whether you keep your word and are a person of integrity.