It's the thought that counts.
She really meant well.
Do the ends justify the means? Is being sincere more important than doing the right thing? Let's examine three stories of people whose hearts were in the right place.
Or were they?
A couple years ago, a group of people (it's probably best not to identify them) decided that I should not have the right to be a mother to my own children. Apparently, these people did not approve of some of the rules of our family, such as homeschooling, modesty, the role of women (after all I've written about this, I guess I can't please anyone in this area!), higher education, getting to the marriage altar, and probably countless other areas, including which church we attended. This group of people took it upon themselves to "rescue" my children from the horrible lifestyle and abuse they thought we must be inflicting upon them. Not once did any of these people come visit our home. Not once did any of these people ask me any questions to find out the validity of their concerns. There was absolutely no attempt made at finding out the truth of the situation, but there was a grand conspiracy to relieve me of my right to parent my own beloved children. As the first part of this plan unfolded and I lost one child, I was absolutely devastated. I thank the Lord that He intervened when the State attempted to remove the other two as well. Imagine my shock and my horror when I eventually found out about this grand scheme by those I thought I could trust, only to hear them justify themselves, "Our hearts were in the right place."
One of my favorite Bible stories is not a very enjoyable story, but one that directs much of my life. The Ark of the Covenant was not in Jerusalem, where it should have been, so King David set out to retrieve it from the house of Abinadab. David's heart was in the right place. They put the Ark on a cart pulled by oxen and then they had a fantastic praise and worship service. Wow! The Spirit of the Lord must truly be in that place with that kind of praise and worship going on! And then the oxen tripped. As the Ark began to tumble, Uzzah lovingly put up his hand to steady it. Surely his heart was in the right place. But God struck him dead! Didn't God see that David's heart was in the right place, that he only wanted to get the Ark to its rightful place? Didn't God see that Uzzah's heart was in the right place, that he only wanted to protect the precious Ark of God? Wasn't it the thought that counts? Did it really matter that God had previously told them how to transport the Ark, that God's ways were better than man's ways, that if they had followed God's method they would not have to be concerned about the safety of the Ark?
Fast forward to Kent Hovind. I truly believe that his heart is in the right place, that he is very sincere in what he believes, that he means well. But just because his heart is in the "right" place, does it follow that he did the right thing? If you do something for the right reason, but it is not the right thing to do, is it just the thought that counts? I will continue to support Kent Hovind, but I believe it is time for him to search his heart and see if it is really in the "right" place. Right now, that "right" place is in jail. In this case, are the means truly worthwhile? Is it worth it to be so right in your beliefs that you lose your freedom, your family, your ministry? If those beliefs stand and fall on the infallibility of God's Word, on preaching the gospel, on the reputation of our Lord, then we should we willing to give up everything for the sake of Christ. But is it really worth it to stake our whole life on whether or not we agree with the interpretations of the tax laws? Kent may be 100% right in his stand; I'm sure his heart was in the right place. But do his current ends justify his means? I pray that he reconsiders what is truly important in life.
If you want to really get my dander up, just excuse someone's actions by telling me that their heart was really in the right place. If the people who planned on taking my children away truly had their heart in the right place, they would not have sinned by plotting kidnappings and false abuse reports to the State. If their hearts were truly in the right place, they would have used Matthew 18 or possibly even just attempted a conversation with me.
If King David's and Uzzah's hearts were in the right place, they would not have disobeyed a direct command from the Lord on how spiritual duties were to be accomplished. Having a great praise and worship service does not impress the Lord when there is sin in the camp. Obedience is always better than sacrifice.
If Kent Hovind were to realize that not all taxes in life are fair, that all laws are not even adequate, that if he is called by God to preach the gospel through his creation seminars and debates, that his family needs him more than the prisoners do, that this issue is not a "do-or-die" issue, Kent may still have a chance for freedom after all. I know he thinks his heart is in the right place, but if it were truly in the "right" place, Kent would be in the "right" place as well -- at home where he belongs.
Our hearts cannot be in the right place if it leads to sin or grave consequences that do not ultimately glorify God. Let us say instead, "Thy will be done."