Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GOOD INTENT

“The perverse get what their ways deserve,

and the good, what their deeds deserve.”

~Proverbs 14:14 (NRSV).

Good intent is sheer mastery.

The abovementioned quote might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s more to it. For starters, as far as moral standards regarding “goodness” go, it doesn’t get any harder to attain than the true biblical standard.

This, however, should not dissuade us from trying.

The perverse, we should learn, are untrustworthy and faithless, “those whose hearts have turned.”[1] The perverse waver; they’re blown to the whims of their selfish and undisciplined hearts. They’re weak-hearted.

The good are not good in themselves; they have simply mastered, to a strong and consistent extent, the following virtues:

1. Good intent is about sincerity in humility. The humble are neither better nor worse than their contemporaries; “class” or “position” in life is not something the humble even remotely think about. It’s not on their agenda for they wish to see truthfully. That’s all that really matters to them as far as the comings and goings of life are concerned.

2. Good intent is about alignment in justice. The just don’t care so much about winners or losers. It’s why the winner wins or the loser loses that counts. The right side and the right intent should hold sway. Partiality of competition is not on their agenda; again, they simply wish to see truthfully. It’s all that matters really so far as life outcomes are concerned. Impartiality reigns. The just believe this even beyond their own desires, for they’ve disciplined them.

3. Good intent is practically about self-discipline. This facet of character alone commands the very seasons of life. A heart humble and just will apply itself in a vast self-discipline because, again, it’s bent on truth. The self-disciplined are entirely trustworthy. As far as “goodness” is concerned, they have it.

A good intent, consistently applied, is based fundamentally in a good heart; a heart that has mastered—to a great, though not perfect, extent—its own crooked nature. For we all have some crookedness in us.

But, when we approach humility, justice and self-discipline with fervour and commitment we can very easily see how a good intent is very much in sight as a pervading modus operandi. This is a good spiritual goal.

This is one of the wisest things we can do as far as practical living is concerned.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.




[1] Paul E. Koptak, Proverbs – NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), p. 377.

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