Doing the Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons or the Wrong Thing for the Right Reasons

Have you ever done the right thing for the wrong reasons—or the wrong thing for the right reasons?

I spent considerable time on these two questions while writing two novels in my historical romance series that will be released this fall. The first in October and the second in November 2016.

In Sarah’s Smile (Book 1), the heroine is planning to leave for the mission field in Africa as soon as the missions society gives her final notice and a date for orientation. Sarah is excited to serve at an orphanage and give the children there the motherly love and attention she missed when her own parents abandoned her to be raised by her grandparents. Becoming a missionary sounds like an unselfish, caring thing to do. Right? But, the catch is that she’s not totally choosing that path for her life for all the right reasons. What underlies her decision is a desire to prove herself worthy of Gods love, fulfill what she believes is her deceased grandfather’s wish for her, and run away from her past.

In Hope’s Design (Book 2), the heroine tends to take situations into her own hands because she wants so desperately to help people. Hope jumps in for the right reasons. But she does things without asking what other people want—or if they even want help—and she even goes so far as to betray the man she loves because she believes she knows what’s best for him.

So, here’s the thing. When we seek purpose in life—or when we decide to pursue a dream—we need to be clear about the “why” behind our decisions. Otherwise, we may miss out on experiencing complete fulfillment and joy in the role. And without intending to, we may also hurt other people in the process. 

The good news . . . God can make great things happen despite our blunders. When wrong motives still create something positive and wonderful, God is working behind the scenes. And when we make wrong moves because our heart is in the right place, he has the power to bring something good out of a possible mess. God loves us that much.

Can you think of situations when you did the right thing for the wrong reasons? The wrong thing for the right reasons? How did that work out for you? Please leave a comment if you’re comfortable sharing.


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