PonderIt

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Road to Heaven is Paved with Good Intentions

I hate the phrase, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." I am a man with good intentions and horrible follow through. I want to be the best home teacher and the best assistant priests quorum advisor and the best in prayers and scripture study.

Those are my honest intentions. And they aren't passing fancies or sometime wishes. These are thoughts I have every day, multiple times. I really do want to be valiant. My performance probably wouldn't lead you to believe that is true. I fall woefully short of my ideals.

I just cling to statements like this one from Hugh Nibley.

Who is righteous? Anyone who is repenting. No matter how bad he has been, if he is repenting, he is a righteous man. There is hope for him. And no matter how good he has been all his life, if he is not repenting, he is a wicked man. The difference is which way you are facing. The man on the top of the stairs facing down is much worse off than the man on the bottom step who is facing up. The direction we are facing, that is repentance; and that is what determines whether we are good or bad. (from "Of All Things" p. 7, a Hugh Nibley quote book edited by Gary Gillum, 2nd edition.)

18 Comments:

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  • I couldn't agree more. I always hate it when people throw that quote out. how dumb.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/14/2006 1:04 AM  

  • Thanks for the quotation, Bradley. That's one for the refrigerator. I also struggle with follow-through, so any reminder to keep facing the right direction is good, even when I feel like Sisyphus.

    By Anonymous EmilyS, at 1/14/2006 5:35 PM  

  • It is a quote that I think about often. There is a similar quote by Brigham Young, but I couldn't find it in the brief searching I did before the post. If anyone knows where it is, I'd love to put that up too.

    By Blogger Bradley, at 1/14/2006 6:51 PM  

  • You must have quite a ward to afford an assistant priest quorum advisor like yourself. We have trouble staffing 3 in the entire young mens, and these three do all of the scout stuff as well.

    I believe you are right in this. Christ will be a perfect judge - he understands all.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 1/16/2006 6:44 AM  

  • I personally always believed that the quote was geared more towards those who hide behind "good intentions". Such as "if I told her she was fat and annoying she could begin to change for the better, I meant it to be a good thing"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/15/2006 7:58 PM  

  • meh .. its a proverb and it means what it says.

    'I meant to feed the fish, but I forgot and they're all dead' :P

    or

    'I was trying to shoot the fly that had landed on his nose'

    or

    'I didn't break up with them when I had doubts cause I didnt want to hurt them' (which causes more pain etc)

    Its a good proverb *shrug*

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/29/2007 9:39 AM  

  • "When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me."
    Emo Philips

    Who is righteous? Anyone who is repenting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/08/2007 7:08 AM  

  • Funny quote. It certainly reminds us of the importance of true repentance rather than insincere apologies.

    By Blogger Bradley, at 8/08/2007 9:28 AM  

  • But...does this quote mean that if you have good intentions you'll go to heaven? good intentions are one thing, but follow thru is another. I have good intentions most of the time, but if I don't follow thru, will I be helping to pave the road for others? Or is the real quote..."the road to hell is paved with good intentions?"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/07/2007 7:30 PM  

  • Well, anonymous, I guess I'm arguing that nobody has perfect follow through and we all fall short. I believe he Lord will judge us on how our hearts have changed rather than on the sum total of all our actions. Certainly our actions matter, but they aren't the exclusive basis for our judgment.

    By Blogger Bradley, at 9/08/2007 8:40 AM  

  • I think the statement is "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"; my brother used it a lot whenever I got the "Holy looks" over me... It helped to keep the feet on the ground. Good intentions will surely lead you astray, since you are "just intending" and thus not "really doing" the right thing... The devil in us is not the bad actions we performed but the fooling of ourselves... "today I am a sinner but tomorrow I will stop smoking"... Who are you fooling? With that attitude you will never stop smoking, since you are projecting your good intentions into the future... a devilish thing...Nike understands "do it now" so you don't need to ask for forgiveness, don't need "good intentions", just do it...

    All other is weakness...
    wim2@sapo.pt

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2007 4:19 AM  

  • The comment from 5/29/2007 was closest to the real meaning of this phrase. It is a warning to beware of unintended consequences. It is not a statement about lack of action and follow through. It is rather a warning that taking action without careful thought about what the actual results will be as opposed to the intended results often leads to disaster. In many life situations this is the enabler behavior.

    A perfect example of unintended consequences is the forest service strategy in the early 20th century to extinguish all forest fires. This lead to the accumulation of brush and clutter in the forests which finally became the kindling that fueled huge forest fires. In the case of the giant sequoias, the nut could not be released and germinate without the aid of small fires and for fifty years virtually no new trees sprouted. The original intent to save the forests was actually killing them!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/25/2008 9:14 AM  

  • The quote I know is: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions". I think it's meaning is perfectly clear - Good intentions are not enough, good actions take you to heaven.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/26/2008 5:06 PM  

  • I have to agree with the poster on 2/25/2008 9:14 AM. It seems more like a warning against undesired side effects of a good intention.

    Another example, albeit fictional, would be of Anakin becoming Darth Vader. His intention was never to be evil; it was to save Padme. But in his search for help, he lost sight of everything he was taught, spiraling downwards until all his efforts cumulated in single, dark outcome: his ascent (or, rather, descent) from Anakin to Darth Vader.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/25/2008 8:17 AM  

  • I agree that its meaning is perfectly clear. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions... Ironically, so is the road to Heaven. You can try and try and try to do your best and sometimes things just go wrong or you don't succeed or you even make bad decisions, mistakes or fail...and if there is a God and He cant understand that, then thats not the Heaven I want to be in anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/15/2008 9:54 AM  

  • i am a super procrasinater- i leave everything off from calling people back to sending birthday cards to getting out to visit a friend.... and my father tells me that the roadd to hell is paved with good intentions...everytime i dont do something i intended to or "put it off just another day" i feel terrible and it haunts my consious. Hearing this quote makes me believe in his eyes I am not a good person and its not so- i procrasinate- but nothing is more immportant to me than my morals and my family/friends. so this quote "the road to HEAVEN is paved with good intentions" just made my night...thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/13/2008 4:48 PM  

  • No one likes to face their weaknesses, but if you run from the lesson, how can you learn anything?

    How can you say you really try to be the best if you don't make any action (follow-through) to be the best? That sounds like either you've given up, or you don't want it as much as you think you do.

    I think you should challenge yourself to face this quote. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Tough stuff often yields the greatest rewards.

    Make God proud by following through. Then he will reward you greatly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/10/2009 2:13 AM  

  • Anon, let's not forget the critical component of the Nibley quote. We are supposed to be continually repenting. If you have given up repenting, then the good intentions won't help. But if you continue to try each time you fail, that is the path that will lead to eventual success. Of course, if the process, we must always rely on the Savior to forgive us and strengthen us. Without that, we're toast.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 12/21/2009 9:56 AM  

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