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Good Intentions Gone Awry

by Charles Spurgeon – 1834-1892

We were riding along in the afternoon of a lovely but blazing day from Varallo to Riva, and to quench our thirst on the road we carried with us some bottles of an excellent lemonade. The empty bottles were of no use to us, and one of them was given to a friend on the box seat of the carriage to throw away. He happened to be the essence of gentleness and liberality, and seeing two very poor peasant women trudging along with huge empty baskets strapped on their backs, he thought it would delight them if he dropped the bottle into one of their receptacles–a bottle being far more precious there than in other places. But the motion of the carriage made him miss his aim, and the bottle fell on the head of the woman instead of into her basket. There was a shrill cry, and a good deal of blood, and speedy faintness. Of course, we were all in an instant binding up the wound with silver, and our friend we feel sure used golden ointment, so that the poor old creature would have cheerfully had her head broken ten times to receive such a sum. But still the incident saddened us all, and especially our dear tenderhearted friend from whose hand the missile dropped.

But how often are we in a similar situation! We meant to cheer a troubled conscience and instead we wounded it yet more. We intended nothing but love, but our words gave pain; we miscalculated and missed our aim. This has both astonished us and caused us deep regret. Yet such a blunder has made us more careful and has humbled us under a sense of our readiness to err. Moreover, it has led us to be still more liberal in the use of that precious treasure of the gospel, which easily recompenses for all our blundering. Be careful with your kindnesses, but be not too much depressed should they fail to comfort. The Lord knows your intentions.

— Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

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