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Are Your Good Intentions Leading to Harm?

Dr. Miriam Adeney, an anthropologist, missiologist, author, and associate professor of World Christian Studies at Seattle Pacific University, recounted the following story that an African Christian friend told her.

“Let me tell you a story about Americans,” an African Christian friend told her.
“Elephant and Mouse were best friends. One day Elephant said, ‘Mouse, let’s have a party!’ Animals gathered from far and near. They ate. They drank. They sang. And they danced. And nobody celebrated more and danced harder than Elephant. After the party was over, Elephant exclaimed, ‘Mouse, did you ever go to a better party? What a blast!’
But Mouse did not answer.
‘Mouse, where are you?’ Elephant called. He looked around for his friend, and then shrank back in horror. There at Elephant’s feet lay Mouse. His little body was ground into the dirt. He had been smashed by the big feet of his exuberant friend, Elephant. Sometimes, that is what it is like to do mission with you Americans,” the African storyteller commented. “It is like dancing with an Elephant.” Read More…



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  1. I have seen this in my short life. Many people come with good intentions and provide the needy with food and clothing and and, but never teach them to stand up out of the dust and work with their hands to provide for themselves. In South Africa where I grew up there is a lot of people who were even though by their parents to ask for help never trying to work themselves, because that is what their parents where though by people with good intentions providing for their every need. In this way a generation leaning only on goodwill of others were created. Thus the elephant has trampled the mouse with good intentions.

    • Riana,
      So profound! I love hearing this from your perspective, as an African, that may be the harsh truth for others to hear but it needs to be said! Many have good hearts but they unintentionally do harm. That is what we are trying to reveal to people through this blog hosted by Austin Bible Institute. Good intentions are not enough…