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Sins of Omission vs. Commission

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side." -Luke 10: 31 & 32

We often hear about the seven deadly sins, or the "thou shalt nots" of the ten commandments. All of these things are essential to understand the difference between right and wrong, and avoid doing wrong. But, even if we don't do any of those seven deadly sins the Bible talks about and we are good people, if we're not living by the law of love, we've sadly missed the point.

"One day a religious leader asked Jesus what he needed to do to earn eternal life. Jesus, as was His habit, responded with a question: "What does the law of Moses say?" to which the leader replied, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 'Right!' Jesus told him. 'Do this and you will live!'" (Luke 10:28)

Then, the leader asked Jesus who his neighbor was. To which, Jesus responded with the story of the Good Samaritan. The priest and the temple assistant who walked by the beat up man on the road didn't sin blatantly. They didn't sleep with another man's wife, tell a lie, or steal from someone - they just didn't do anything at all. But herein lies the greatest danger: what happens to our culture, our widows, our orphans, our co-workers, our families, or our neighbors if we walk by and do nothing? The sin both the priest and the temple assistant committed was a sin of omission.

When we don't speak a word of encouragement to someone who needs it, we allow a void to be present that could have been filled with God's love and light. When we don't tell our spouse or our kids "I love you," and show them that we do, we are allowing the enemy to creep in by means of our vacancy. When we don't step into leadership and we allow a vacuum, we do the world as much damage as if we had done something to harm it.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -Edmund Burke

Let us not be found to commit many sins of omission, and may we each have the grace to be able to fill in the gap.

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