Will be judged by our actions or our intentions?


#1

For example, if you were excessively critical without knowing but your intention was truly just to help. What if you disciplined your children too much, even though your intentions were to protect. What if your idea of mercy extended to the point of almost condoning the behavior. Life is never perfect. Sometimes humans cannot forgive or understand us when we go to extremes - hurt by wanting to help.


#2

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. the promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

**1861 **Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.


#3

Your post is all over the place. :confused:

We should spend more time truly trying to do good, with good intention, and with good will.
Looking for ways to circumvent truth, or forgiveness, results in poor decision making that yes, will impact us now and in the next world as well.
Purity of heart never fails us.

Intentions are fine…but if there is never any action to do good…what have we got? Nothing. Neither do the homeless, the hungry, the people who need prayer, the elderly who are lonely, the children who need good example and love, nothing.
“I meant to do this or that” doesn’t really serve, does it?


#4

I sometimes wonder about this, Lets say I need money and want to rob a bank, but I know its wrong to do, so I choose not to.

What reason did I have for avoid robbing the bank, was it truly because I feel stealing is wrong and offends God and THIS was my main concern, or was the real reason because fear of mans laws, being arrested, jail, loosing quality of life in this world?

This same idea could be applied to many other scenarios as well

It begs the question…are we ‘being good people’ and doing good things because we believe this to be right or is it just fear of punishment Same question could apply to our religious beliefs…are we christians because we truly love and have faith in God or are we just frightened at being punished (hell) as a result of not obeying/ loving God?

I have a sneaky feeling if we avoid doing things like this solely due to earthly repercussions, our intentions may not be good after all.


#5

Will be judged by our actions or our intentions?

Both.

We will be judged (and God knows us best)

Let us repent and believe the Gospel! Know the joy of true life in Christ.


#6

I agree, and this is what Orthodox Jews believe. More specifically, our good actions will benefit us in the lower level of Gan Eden and our good intentions will benefit us in the upper level of Gan Eden.


#7

Personally I love St Basil’s words on this matter:

"If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children."

According to Scripture God judges by the heart, and so it’s the heart first of all, from which many evils may flow (Matt 15:19), that He wishes to heal and change, exchanging our stony hearts with hearts of flesh (Ez 36:26). Mere external actions may or may not reveal or express the true state of the heart.


#8

To follow up on post #2 , where the catechism’s treatment of sin is cited, I’ll post the catechism’s teaching on morality in general. 1752 & 1753 deal with* intention* specifically:

**1750 The morality of human acts depends on:

  • the object chosen;

  • the end in view or the intention;

  • the circumstances of the action.

The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the “sources,” or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.

1751 The *object *chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by conscience.

1752 In contrast to the object, the *intention *resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken. Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one’s whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one’s neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it.

1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).39

1754 The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent’s responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.**


#9

My beloved Irish grandmother (RIP) had one thing to say on this very subject:

‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’

:yup:


#10

I wrote this in response to some of the disciplinary practices I heard of. I understand the purpose of disciplining your child is to stop bad behavior. Some of the things I heard of in different countries would easily pass as child abuse here. Scratching a child’s face, beating a child until she is almost unconscious, etc. These people genuinely still love their parents and saw how they were misbehaving. I don’t understand


#11

I think the intentions she meant were those behind an act, not the intention of doing some good and not doing it. Rather like a small child who tries to help set the table by getting out the dishes who breaks them all; he intended to help, not to do something bad.


#12

On judgement day we will be examined (I believe) only on one thing:

How did you LOVE?


#13

Yes. Exactly. I think most parents who discipline their children intend to correct or right a wrong, but sometimes in doing so they cross the line into abuse. I have had a friend, she is very into correcting people and showing them the right way. She thinks quite logically, but she does not understand plenty of people consider her approach mildly abusive and a form of bullying. When does correction become belittling? Her intentions may be pure, the DAMAGE IS DONE. A family friend of mine, had a father who beat her until she was black and blue because she sneaked out to see a boy. She has a good relationship with her father now, but that is something SHE WILL NEVER FORGET. As much her father was right in disciplining her, she WILL NEVER CONDONE/AGREE with his approach no matter how well-intentioned.


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.