Bible Insights

An Act of Omission is the Failure to Act

An Act of Commission is an Act We’ve Done

When I think of being punished, be it by God or people, I think in terms of things I do wrong. That is, doing things that I shouldn’t have done. Some people call this an “act of commission.” They are things I have committed.

However, there can also be consequences for not doing the things we should have done.  This is an “act of omission.” They are things I didn’t do, even though I should have.

Jesus talks about acts of omission in a parable about the sheep and the goats. The goats were guilty, not of doing wrong, but of not doing what was right. Their failure was a failure to act.

Jesus even gives specific examples:

  • a failure to feed the hungry,
  • a failure to provide water to the thirsty,
  • a failure to show hospitality to the stranger,
  • a failure to give clothes to those in need, and
  • a failure to look after the sick and imprisoned.

Each of these are huge issues—and overwhelming—but enormity is not an excuse for inaction.

While one person can’t solve all of these issues—or even one of them—each person can do something to make a difference, be it simply to help one person who is hungry, thirsty, homeless, needy, or hurting.

Don’t be a goat; help someone today.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Matthew 23-25, and today’s post is on Matthew 25:31-46.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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