I Didn't Mean It: Good Intentions Gone Bad.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Good intentions aren't everything. Good intentions must be paired with wisdom, prayer, and thoughtfulness. 


As a general rule, I tend to agree with the old adage "it's the thought that counts". I think intentions are important and when God looks at the heart, our intentions matter to him, even if we aren't necessarily getting everything right. However, it would be easy for us to become too focused on the fact that our hearts are in the right place. After all, very few of us walk into a conversation with our spouse with the intention of starting an argument; nor do people typically intend to hurt the feelings of a loved one, but we've all been there. Regardless of what we meant to do, we've still all had times where we messed things up.

We can mess things up when our words or actions do not match our hearts.

When I was in college, there was this one particular girl who I wanted to be friends with, and I had always wanted her to like me. I had noticed lately though, she hadn't been around the dorm a lot. I knew her boyfriend lived off campus and I wondered if she had been staying with him. In my mind, I was genuinely hoping she was doing well. Her and her boyfriend had expressed before that they wanted to be a godly couple and live for God, so I was hoping they were sticking to that and I wanted to see them succeed. That was my thought and intention, I just cared...

But lo-and-behold, the second I got a chance to talk to her (in front of another group of girls), instead of just saying "hey, how are you?", I said something along the lines of "are you even living here anymore", and everyone knew what I was insinuating. I didn't mean to be judgmental, but it certainly came out that way. At the time, the girl just laughed it off and so did I. Since I didn't have bad intentions and didn't mean it the way it came out, I didn't think about it again......until I received a chat message from the same girl over a year later.

She was writing to say that she had forgiven me. She expressed to me that at that time in her life, she had been feeling extremely insecure and wanted desperately to make some friends. She had been hoping that that semester would be a fresh start. And when I ask my insensitive question in front of a whole group of girls, she was so hurt, embarrassed and offended that I would assume the worse, that she didn't seek out any friendships.

I. Felt. Horrible. And honestly I still do. I apologized and she said she forgave me. I explained that what I said and what I meant by it were two different things, but that can never erase the fact that my words had a devastating impact on her. My words that I thought nothing about. My words that I had overall good intentions for.



It's been a year since I talked to that girl, and I am thankful she forgave me. But that whole situation taught me an important lesson that I think needs to be shared: just because you have good intentions, and you mean well, does not mean you won't hurt someone. Good intentions need to be paired with thoughtfulness, prayer, and wisdom. Be thoughtful about what you are actually doing and saying. Be prayerful about how to handle the situations that you hope to make an encouraging impact on. And use wisdom to discern how your actions and words may effect those around you (before you do or say them).

Sometimes we will get it wrong. Sometimes our well-meaning hearts will be overshadowed by our over-zealousness and wrong ways of handling the situation. And when that happens, thank God for grace. Thank God that He still sees our heart and sees our intentions. Thank God that our intentions were pleasing to him, even if our actions were not. But when that happens, also learn. Learn a lot and strive to get it right the next time.


Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle it or make it right?

*linked up with: A Life in Balance



16 comments

  1. I have most definitely said things that came out differently than my intentions! I think the best way to recover is sincere apology and proceeding with intentional words! I love that you said "good intentions should be paired with thoughtfulness, prayer, & wisdom." SO VERY TRUE!

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    1. Brandy, thank you for stopping by!
      I definitely think a sincere apology and intentional words are the best way too! At that point, it's really all you can do.
      Glad this post resonated with you :)

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  3. This is so true for all of us. Words can come out in a way that sounds good to others, not just to us. I have a sarcastic sense of humor, so I really need to watch how I sound and what my words are. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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  4. In early high school, I used to do these things all the time, only on purpose. I was a complete snob, and it wasn't until later that I realized everyone I had lost probably didn't like me, or were attracted to me because they were snobbish in the same way. I knew I hadn't acted like that before started hanging out with them, so I decided I really needed to change myself.

    While I agree that on God's field our intentions matter more, on a human-to-human field, our intentions really don't matter. And I think it's HARD to think like that, and some might consider it 'setting yourself up for failure', I think it's more along the lines of 'raising the bar'. One way I'm truly blessed is that a guy from my Bible study and I made a pact to call out each other's sins right away, regardless of who's around. It's really made me be more focused on what I'm doing, and remember that I'm always witnessing to others.

    I'm glad to have found a group of people who will help correct and refine me, and not influence bad habits. (: Life is a learning process, but I'm glad to be in good company. Still, the more we strive to seek forgiveness and better ourselves in accordance to God's word, the more we'll find His grace in our lives! ^.^

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    1. Exactly :) That is why I wrote this. To make people aware that even though God cares about our heart and intentions, our intentions don't witness to people- our actions do.
      <3 glad you are in this community!

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  5. Very well said & very true. I think none of us really take seriously enough the impact what we say & do has on others.

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    1. Yeah, it's crazy how much it really does matter!

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  6. Yikes! Yeah, always got to be careful with our words and make sure that they align with a sense of no judgment. Especially in front of others. I can see how someone can feel attacked or pressured. But it happens! No need to beat yourself up over it.

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    1. It's definitely important!
      I've mostly gotten over it, but still feel bad sometimes!

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    1. Thankfully, every single one of us can improve everyday. :)

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  8. I know I've done this a ton! I think when your mind is in one frame it's hard to understand a different frame of mind, at least at the time. I think this is a great way to approach conversations! Thanks for the awesome post!

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    1. I love the way you said that! Exactly. It is very hard, in the moment to understand that your way of thinking or saying something may not be the best or most accurate. haha.

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  9. So true! This also goes along with thinking before we speak and understanding what it will sound like when you say it.

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  10. This is a great post. It made me think of my actions and words. I sometimes say things that come off the wrong way and it mainly is because I don't first think what I should say. I need to really think deeply before opening my mouth. It has gotten me in much trouble.

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