Intention is Everything

Think about it. Before you do anything, say something, go somewhere – think of your intentions. Is it good?

If you do something whilst having good intentions, God will surely support you. If you can’t do them, but sincerely intend to, He will bless you as if you had done them.

“God values deeds according to their intentions. For it is said, “The Lord grant unto you according to your heart” (Ps. 19:5) … Therefore, whoever wants to do something but can’t, is considered as having done it by God, who sees the intentions of our hearts. This applies to both good and evil deeds alike.”
– St. Mark the Ascetic, Homilies, 1.184, 2.16

We should often think deeply of why we do things before we do them. Will it affect only myself or will it affect only those involved? How about others around me?

“Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may recieve your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.”
– St John Chrysostom

Do not judge when you see others acting in a particular way or saying things that you may think is wrong or bad or disrespectful or uncalled for. Whether they are right or wrong, we do not know their hearts and inner thoughts. Even if it may seem evil or irrational, the intentions may be great and sincere towards the Lord.

“In every case, as we said, we must look not at the progress of the work but at the intention of the worker, nor must we inquire to begin with what a man has done, but with what purpose, so that we may find that some have been condemned for those deeds from which good has afterwards arisen, and on the other hand that some have arrived by means of acts in themselves reprehensible at the height of righteousness. And in the case of the former the good result of their actions was of no avail to them as they took the matter in and with an evil purpose, and wanted to bring about–not the good which actually resulted, but something of the opposite character; nor was the bad beginning injurious to the latter, as he put up with the necessity of a blameworthy start; not out of disregard for God, or with the purpose of doing wrong, but with an eye to a needful and holy end.”
– John Cassian, Conferences

And finally, we should always pray that our actions are acceptable before the Lord, that our thoughts are pure and our intentions are aligned with God’s will.

“Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, set right our thoughts, cleanse our intentions, heal our sickness, forgive us our sins and deliver us from every evil grief and distress.”
– Concluding Prayer of the Agpia (Coptic Orthodox Prayer book)

Just remember that “He both honours the work and praises the intention.”
– St. John Chrysostom, Paschal Homily


But I had the best of intentions!


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