It is an old proverb that is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Today we look at the 2nd Category of human beings mistakes illustrated in the Bible. This is a mistake that is made ignorantly with an absolutely pure motive. Have you ever made a mistake like that? You have good intentions, but you use the wrong planning or the wrong method.
Consider Moses, in Exodus 2. He’s 40 years old. (You never get to the place, even in the Bible, where you’re too old to make mistakes.) Middle-aged Moses realizes that he is potentially able to deliver His people from the bondage of Egypt. So he rolls up his sleeves and does what Frank Sinatra sings, “I’ll do it my way,” (for you young ones I’ll put the song at Sext, it’s a classic your Grandparents all know.)
Moses wanted to see a great injustice righted, most of us would agree the inhuman treatment of slavery is offensive and those who enslave and mistreat others should be severely punished, to the full extent of the law. Moses wanted to save his people from that, so his intentions are good, right and honourable – the way his actions played out however were NOT so much. He has a temper (we see it later in his story also) and he loses his temper and kills an Egyptian Overseer who was beating a slave. (Our Old Testament Reading)
That’s called murder, now this was before the Law was given in Sinai but he still knew it was wrong. Moses thought that his people would realize that God had sent him to help them, but they didn’t understand. (See today’s Compline reading).
I think so often when our motive is right we assume that everyone will understand, everyone will follow suit, everyone will appreciate what we do even if what we do is wrong. Moses thought that. He had good intentions, but it was a mistake.
I suggest as one who has made enough mistakes to be considered an expert: It is easy for us, especially in faith, to run ahead of God. To roll up our sleeves in God’s service, wanting to do God’s will, wanting to do God’s purpose, but we run ahead of Him. In our own strength, in our own fleshly ways, we take the matter in our own hands. And we always reap a painful crop, or consequence. When we do things ahead of God, when we rush in ahead of Him we find these things we seek to do with good intentions, we find they come back to haunt us.