When I was in the CoC, there was a big disconnect with reality regarding intentions, especially regarding how we can know whether they are good or bad. In fact, intentions weren't talked about a whole lot, it wasn't often acknowledged that there was a difference between a bad action and a bad intention. This disconnect with reality often caused us to judge intentions unfairly, assuming that a bad action automatically indicated a bad intention. The focus was always on the outside, and rarely on the inside.
An obvious example of this kind of thinking is apparent on a few recent threads on the Preacher's Files. Specifically in this thread about Mary, and this thread about priestly robes and garments.
In the first thread, when talking about prayers and the usual "vain repition" verse, it does not even occur to the participating CoC members to acknowledge the difference between repitition, and vain repitition. They assume that all repitition must necessarily be vain. Because of this, they automatically judge anyone who participates in any kind of repetitive prayer as praying in vain.
Another example in the same thread is the use of statues. Again, a statue may certainly be used in an idolatrous way, by bowing down to it, believing the statue itself is somehow a deity higher than God. This is what God condemns. But the fact that someone may have a statue in front of them while they pray does not necessarily mean that they are treating the statue itself as a deity, as an idol. Anyone who recognizes the intention as distinct from the action can see this easily. But if someone has been taught that the two are inextricably entertwined, it is much harder for them to give someone the benefit of the doubt, and assume good intentions. No matter how much I may personally try to convince them that I do not think the statue itself is higher than God, they will discount my words because they cannot separate an action from an intention.
In the second thread, there are several expressions of incredulity at the idea that a priest wearing robes could be for any other reason than to puff himself up, show that he is more holy, etc. Again, this shows a failure to separate actions from intentions. I wasn't even asking that they agree that robes are ok, only trying to explain how wearing robes doesn't necessarily mean someone is trying to draw attention to himself.
This unwillingness to separate actions from intentions is a dangerous thing, because it leads to the idea that we can always judge people's intentions strictly by their actions. This leads to the judgemental attitude that so many who leave the CoC have been hurt by. It also leads to a scary understanding of a God who does not distinguish between actions and intentions, so that people are left to fearfully hope they have not unintentionally sinned without realizing it. It also leads to the idea that as long as our actions are ok, as long as we are keeping up appearances, it must necessarily follow that our intentions, our heart, needs no work, which leads to more pride. It's a sad, downward spiral that many well-meaning CoC members don't even realize is happening. But I always hold out hope that they may come to see the difference between actions and intentions, and to see the importance of acknowledging that difference. This realization is what first led me to where I am today.