Sins of Omission

Ordinary Time
January 9, 2018

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-20

Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.’ –1 Samuel 3:10-14

We are as accountable for sins of omission, perhaps more, than we are of sins of commission. By all accounts, Eli dedicated his life to the Lord’s service. His failure was in parenting. He apparently turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of his children. We do not know, if he was too tied up in his work to pay them any attention or whether he just could not bring himself to discipline them correctly. I will never forget a juvenile case many years ago. * Three young teenagers entered private property without permission and with a lot of beer. They broke some furniture and caused some other damages. The police soon arrived, arrested them, and notified their parents. All three appeared in court the next week accompanied by their parents. Two of the youth each standing between their parents apologized for their behavior. Their parents made restitution for their share of the damage assuring the courts the youth would pay them back. he two boys were sentenced to several hours of community service. Having successfully complied with all requirements their records were eventually expunged.

The parents of the third boy also appeared in court, said he was incorrigible and they could do nothing with him. They turned him over to the state and walked out. All present were stunned. The judge ordered temporary custody to the state, and we, not knowing what he was capable of, placed him with foster parents who had a lot of experience with tough kids, which as it turned out he was not. He was a child hungry for love and acceptance. He flourished in foster care, did well in school, and became an adult of whom most parents would be proud. I wonder if he ever saw his natural parents again.

Are their injustices we see but think they are not our problem and thus do nothing about them? Is there someone or something we know we have talents and skills to help that we ignore?  The start of a new year is a good time to, evaluate our sins of omission and set about correcting them.

Prayer: Lord forgive me for all my sins. Open opportunities for me to do those things I am omitting to do that are a part of your desire for my life. Amen.

*The situation description has been altered to protect the privacy of the youth.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.