"THE road to hell is paved with good intentions," goes the adage. But good intensions are important. We seldom do good without intending to. We encourage one another and our children to aspire to do good, to set worthy goals, to live purposefully.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

The adage is not negative on good intentions, but points out a certain peril in having good intentions. Good intentions in themselves are not enough. It is not enough to want to do good, and is not sufficient to promise to do good. Those suffering with addictions may promise again and again to stop, and everybody feel better. But promising to stop is not the same as stopping. Most of us see ourselves as better than we are because we give too much credit to our intentions. I meant to do better sounds pretty empty in a relationship, in law court, and in Christian discipleship.

Jesus had to cope with people who make promises to him that turned out to empty promises.

He experienced so much disappointment over broken promises that he began cautioning people against making promises. When people promised to follow him wherever he went, Jesus warned them that he had no place to lay his head. When people asked for time to tend to family matters before becoming a disciple, Jesus dismissed them by saying that the dead could take care of the dead. It wasn't that Jesus was indifferent to the plight of people who had conflicting desires and loyalties. He simply wanted everyone to see that good intentions are not enough. Resolving or intending to do something is not the same as doing it.