How often have you been hurt by someone, talked to them about it, and had them answer,"but I didn't mean to. That wasn't my intent." Or even, "I was only trying to help the situation."? Still you were hurt anyway, sometimes deeply so. You don't want excuses, as those answers seem to you, but apologies. You want the other person to take responsibility for the pain they caused you and to ask forgiveness for it. Often--the more mature among us--do exactly that, do ask forgiveness.
Still the question lies on the table, at least on the table in my house. I should say, the table in my heart. You see, I'm the one who has been 'only trying to help the situation.' I'm the one who, with the very best of intentions, hurt and made worse what I had hoped to make better. What I saw as acting as a bridge was actually acting as a barrier between people. I've done so because I can't stand conflict, am such a peace-maker that I'll do just about anything to bring it about.
I think it's
Later, I got more sly (as it were) about my interventions. When friends would be upset with one another, I always wanted to be Switzerland, not taking sides, but the place where peace between the parties could happen. But I suppose even then there were many times when such positions backfired on me, when it seemed two-faced and disloyal to one person or the other, when my intent was not equal to the result.
And now the stakes are much higher. Two of my best-beloved have had an ongoing struggle to understand each other, so I've acted as something of a translator between them. My intent has been to help them understand each other's language. But in the last couple of days, it's come to light that what I did for good was not good. In fact, it had the opposite effect. I've not only hurt them but actually made the barrier between them widen.
Hence the question: is intent or result sin?
And of course, I know the truth. We all do. It's the result that counts. We can think of extreme cases that show up on the news daily--domestic violence is one of them. "I didn't mean to kill her, I just wanted to scare her" is something we hear as a defense all the time. She's dead nevertheless.
It doesn't matter what I intended, it only matters what has come of it. And what has come of it is something that I'm in no small way responsible for. And must--MUST--repent of, ask forgiveness for, and also ask Him to turn me around. The peace-maker is part of my made-in-His-Image self; I'm not saying I should ever despise that or ask Him to take what He gave away what He intended me to be. But I am saying that He must rein it in. It must be in submission to Him. Even our gifts must be used in surrender, under His control. I must do what HE intends me to do and the result has far more chance of being in line with what He wills. Far more being completely, that is.
I asked forgiveness of the parties who have suffered because I stood between them. I told each that I will step out of the way. And come what may in their relationship, by HIS grace, I will keep watch and pray and listen. And ask Him to muzzle my mouth.
Then we'll see what result He'll bring.