They Meant Well

They Meant Well

Daily Devotion for Advent | Monday December 17, 2018

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called.

Luke 1:57-62

“They meant well.” Aren’t those ominous words? We only say people “meant well” when it’s clear they’ve made a mistake.

young man frowning they meant well advent devotion immanuel lutheran church joplin missouri

When Elizabeth had her baby, her relatives and neighbors came to the circumcision ceremony, prepared to celebrate. Everything was going great until they got to the baby’s name. “Zechariah Jr., right?” And in the middle of this, Elizabeth’s answer drops like a stone: “Yeah, actually, it’s John.” What? They protest. And then they go over Elizabeth’s head to ask her husband, as if they thought Elizabeth had shut him out of the decision in the first place!

Meaning well isn’t enough.We need someone who not only means well, but does well—someone who loves us and finds a way to put that love into effective, loving action. And that’s exactly what God sent to us: our Savior Jesus. His love shines out in everything He does for us—whether that is teaching us, rebuking us, comforting us, or showing kindness to us. Truly, He is the one who “has done all things well” (Mark 7:37).

With Jesus, there are no blunders—no mistakes—no “I didn’t mean it that way” and “You’re too sensitive” and “Can’t we just forget about that time?” We know that Jesus is nothing but goodness and love and health and holiness; if there is a problem between us, it’s obvious who needs to correct course. And yet He never holds those problems against us—never rejects us out of hurt feelings—never refuses to be reconciled with us, to accept us, to bring us home. Our friends and relatives love us. Our Savior laid down His own life for us—and then rose again to share His everlasting life with us forever. How wonderful He is!


Lord Jesus, thank You that You always forgive and take me back again when I have failed to do well—or even to mean well. Thank You for saving me. Amen.

  • When was the last time you got your feelings hurt by someone who meant well?
  • When was it you who meant well, but didn’t manage to carry it out well?
  • When you have to deal with people who mean well but hurt you anyway, how do you find the strength to treat them with the love of Jesus?

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About These Devos

THE COMING KING Advent Devotions 2018

The coming Savior’s birth was foretold by the prophets of old and later experienced by many who were on hand as He came into this world. Mary and Joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon, shepherds, wise men from the east, a legion of angels, and even King Herod—all play their parts in the Gospel narratives that speak of the Savior’s incarnation. Explore the many ways their lives were touched as God became one of us, for each of us, in The Coming King.

Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) is a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches worldwide in its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations—and the Nations to the Church.