How many times has this been said and by how many people: “I meant well.”
How many times? Hundreds? Thousands? Those three little words are uttered all the time. The phrase is meant to evoke a particular response, which usually is, “Aw, that’s okay.” Well, it isn’t okay. So why do we say it?
The phrase may mean, “I wanted to do something good, but I never got around to it. I meant well.”
That’s not good enough. It won’t please your boss. It won’t make your husband or wife happy. It won’t be good enough for the Lord Jesus. Those three words are just an admission of failure and laziness.
Perhaps what the three-word phrase really means is, “I neglected to do what was right.” Certainly, this is closer to the truth, isn’t it? Most of the things we intended to do and fail to finish we meant to do but didn’t. The result is “I meant well.”
Jesus taught a parable about a landowner going on a long trip and gave his servants five, two and one talent. The talent was about 33 kg. and a talent of silver would be worth about $16,000. Two of the servants immediately got to work and made more money. But the one talent man dug a hole and buried his money. When the landowner settled accounts, he was angry with the one-talent man. I think we know why.
“I meant well” sounds like a good excuse, but it isn’t. It means “I’ve failed.” The one-talent man failed not because he had no ability, but because he was lazy. And this is the principal reason why people don’t get their work done. “I meant well,” makes our negligence seem okay. It isn’t.