Eric's Sunday Sermon; To Learn From Hillary Clinton's Emails and Intent
An isolated beach on the shores of the Colorado River deep in the Grand Canyon.
Your intent will not set you free in the legal sense.
Don’t look at me, all I know about the case is what I can gather from skewed news services with their own agenda. But I understand that the notion of no intent therefore no crime came up. Let us look at the negative and then the positive of intentions.
There was a man so drunk that there was no way he could form the intent to drive drunk and kill another. Yet that man was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
There was a young boy who had a great interest in his father’s tools. The rules were simple. Use it carefully, do not lend it or give it to another, and put it back clean and safely. In three tries the boy just could not follow the rules. So he lost the privilege of being trusted with his dad’s tools.
There was a man who was speeding and pulled over by a cop for speeding. He told the officer that he had not intended to go so fast. So the officer smiled and wished him a good day and sent him on his way – Not!
There was a lady who for the sake of convenience left the child she was watching in the hot car while she shopped. The child did or did not die of the heat. Was she guilty of child endangerment even if no harm came to the child?
There is a clear notion in the law of specific and general intent crimes. Some activities require a specific intent to violate them in order for a person to be guilty of the crime. Others just require the intent to do the act that ultimately causes a violation of the law. The dude intentionally fires a weapon in a crowded bar room. He does not intend to kill anyone but he does. Is the guy not guilty of homicide simply because he did not intend to kill someone?
Have you ever heard of the contemplative saying; The road to hell is paved with good intentions? Have you ever lied with the intent of preventing someone else getting upset? Even if it is avoiding a person getting upset with you, it is still not always wrong.
Then there is that intent for something to happen that your intentions have no effect upon. “I intend to be free of cancer”.
Intention is a concept worth reviewing. Especially our own intentions. So how is this a sermon? Let us turn the discussion of intentions toward the arena of spirituality and love.
I didn't mean to hurt you or make you cry.
A view from a childhood home.
What are your intentions?
As humans in a reasonable environment we are taught some morals and what is considered good. The vast majority of people try to or intend to take action with an attempt at living up to those taught priorities. We intend to do what “is right”. Of course we fail and sometimes miserably. Wouldn’t it be swell if we could have such a close connection with our God that we could replace our intentions with God’s intentions? Perhaps it would not always be warm and fuzzy and we would still need to take responsibility for our actions but at least our intentions would be pure.
I have a son who had a tumor around 8 years of age. It required surgery and a lower half body cast for quite a long time. We knew it would have a huge effect on how he viewed and acted on life throughout his life. We needed sincere meditation and prayer as to how to prepare him for this journey. He and I examined the choices we had to make. We had to set our intentions on what we wanted the reality to be. We looked at others who had harsh trials and handicaps in life. They seemed to be either nasty, surly and resentful or they seemed to take hardship and turn it into a positive for other’s they had contact with. A choice was there. After much talk and consideration we both came to believe that the latter would be a much better way to go. My son at such a young age set his intentions on making a good difference in his and other’s life. This intention carried him through the tough times and to this day, decades later his primary intention is to do good and be good. Indeed the hardship did effect/affect him for the rest of his life. He intends to and does make a positive impact on others.
If we speak only of our intention for the small physical actions we take, we may lose sight of the big intention picture. What we intend to accomplish with our lives is a must do contemplation and realization.
What a way to end a day.
Is it your intention to see the Lord in everything?
Please at least intend well.
How about that ego? What if I got it in my head that my positions were the right ones to guide a country? And I believed that I was the best of all people to actuate my positions. And I was rich and powerful. Would I set my intentions on the big picture and let my smaller actions be molded by the means justify the ends? Would I treat rules and people as acceptable collateral damage on my way to accomplishing my intentions? I reckon just food for thought.
For some reason I am drawn and choose to emulate those people that I have contact with who clearly have the intention of being a good person and not an intention of accomplishing a given goal. It is my experience that by and large both kinds of folks are just as likely to obtain those goals. Is the ultimate goal in life to “accomplish” some thing or is the goal to accomplish a solid way to live? Should we intend to accomplish a huge impact on many or should we intend to make life better for all those we have contact with? I like to think of the school teacher that inspired one student in 25 years to be a great leader of man. Who in actuality had a greater impact – the inspirer or the leader? Who had the more noble intentions?
Let us take a closer look at our drunk. When he left home he had intentions to meet some friends at a restaurant and have a couple of drinks over several hours eat a meal and then return home. But in short order due to an actual sickness of alcoholism he stays all night and just plain gets drunk. Then he drives his car and kills someone. But stop for a second and don’t condemn the man out of hand. Take his situation and apply it toward yours. We set our intentions on lofty and righteous goals. But the actual problems of the day to day and our own character defects detour us from our objective. Sickness, financial and relationship problems divert us from our contemplated intentions. To stand fast, to persevere, to be long suffering, patient and to stay focused are what allow us to fulfill our intentions even in the face of calamity and tragedy. If you pause and think about it, it is what that great guy Paul talks about when speaking of love. So cool: 1 Cor 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if when we focus and set our intentions on being loving all other good intentions would come to pass – wait a second they do. If I meditate in love and therefor set my mind on love, then loving intentions are what follow. It is up to God whether or not they come true in the manner we envision. So let us set our intentions today on being a loving contributor to this fine earth.