The road to hell …

…  is paved with good intentions.

This proverb dates back about a 1,000 years in one form and another and means that – although one might have good intentions – one might end up doing bad things – which, for Christians implies to end up in hell.  Or that our actions have bad results instead of the good ones we have hoped for.

The end of the road to hell, pic: horrorsigns.com

The idiom is also used as a rebuke for somebody who is complaining that he/she wanted to do the right thing but that the consequences were negative nevertheless.  I have also heard it used ironically, implying that whoever had the good intentions did not try hard enough, that intentions are good and nice but not enough to guarantee a positive outcome and more resolve and dedication is necessary.

Example

“I really had planned on visiting you while you were in the hospital, honestly, I had the best intentions but it just never worked out.”

“Yeah, right – the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

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