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February 10th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

10 comments (+ Add)

Actions Verses Intentions

Have you ever noticed that it is easy to judge other people by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions.

For example, if my neighbor didn’t return my tool he borrowed a year ago, I will probably think he didn’t care much about honoring me. But if I forgot to pay him back $5 that I owed him, I might let myself off because I was “planning on doing it,” but never got around to it.

It is extremely easy to become increasingly unaware of ourselves because we have good intentions on a subject but lack good follow through.

For over a year, I talked about mentoring certain staff members. Although I intended to do it, I had to cancel meetings over and over again for pressing issues. Without knowing it, I clearly communicated to them that they were not a priority. Because I “intended” to spend time with them, I thought they would understand.

We have to remember that others don’t know our intentions. Actions tell the real truth.

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  1. Feb 10, 2010 at 7:25 am

    I could not agree more. I, as probably everyone, have been on both ends of this. I have been the one “intending” and the one with “action”. I have also been the one who kept hearing “intending” and the one to receive “actions”.

    Funny thing is I noticed this in myself just the other day and commneted on it to my wife.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Feb 10, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Funny you should post this today. Yesterday I had to apologize to a staff member who I’m mentoring. I’ve committed to mentor monthly, but it’s been falling on them to make the appointment and then I’ve had to cancel several times. Ouch…good intentions mean nothing if not followed through with good actions.


  3. Feb 10, 2010 at 8:25 am

    This is huge today Craig. I have a list in my Moleskine of things I had intended to do all week. Today will be that day…come snow or more snow. But those are minor compared to what really counts in the way of mentoring, leading a men’s Wild at Heart class (which I have said for 4 years I want to do), or do a leadership lesson 1/month using “IT” (for almost a year now). Thanks for the reminder for action not intention.

  4. Feb 10, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Wow! I am one who has dealt with this more than I should and I know that is my own doing. It took some time to realize it. It wasn’t until my wife got upset with me over something and I made the statement, “You should know what I am thinking, I have good intentions.” She looked at me and said, “I can’t read your mind, and neither can anyone else.” She was so right. I think that this is an easy trap to fall into. Thanks again Craig.

  5. Feb 10, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I really try to be careful not to commit to more than what I can handle or am able to do. If I over commit I tend to let people down. This week I had two ministry leaders ask if I would be at their event, I told them to lead it as if I would not be present. If I am able to be show up, then I will exceed their expectations, rather than say I had good intentions of being there.

    I know myself too well, over commitment is a big trap for me.

  6. Feb 10, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Yep… intention isn’t all that matters… and I only can tell this of myself: Guilty as charge! :(

  7. Feb 10, 2010 at 10:33 am

    [...] 2 great short articles… Filed under: Uncategorized — joelbyer @ 11:33 am Actions vs. Intentions [...]

  8. 8Avery
    Feb 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm


    Like you pre-empted in your last post… perception, and effectiveness need to be examined…

    I like to on a frequent basis ask myself the question, “what do my actions show, and do they line up with my perceptions?”…

    Then I will ask someone else the same question about myself…

    If they don’t meet up, then I know what I need to work on…

    Good practical stuff!

  9. Feb 11, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Great post! This is the ugly truth about being a Christian and being a leader too. I find myself in this boat time and time again. I feel like I’m trying to justify my actions and tell myself that it’s ok. But the reality is like you said…our actions tell the reality. Maybe it’s the desire to be too effective or the lack of good planning…I don’t know but there are always pressing issues that arise in Church Life. There has to be a better way to get this right. Or maybe God is just trying to remind us that we need to slow down from time to time because only he is God. We’ll get it though

  10. Aug 31, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    [...] Actions Versus Intentions – “Have you ever noticed that it is easy to judge other people by their actions but judge ourselves by our intentions?” [...]