Once upon a time, in a conversation with a friend, I realized he and I had very different understandings of that saying.
I’ve wondered which meaning most people put to the adage. (And, of course, there may be readings different from either of hours..)
Do you find one of these to be more copacetic with your own interpretation?
1. If your intentions are good but you seek to achieve them by means that are bad, your essential nature nature is bad, not good, and you are worthy of punishment.
2. If your intentions are good but you do nothing to achieve them, you are by nature no better than if your intentions were bad.
And by the way, the expression is not from Shakespeare or the Bible… and in its current form it first appeared in the mid-19th century. Its ultimate origin is unknown.