Tag Archives: Sins of Omission

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.

The Action of Repenting

Living in the Spirit
October 11, 2017

Scripture Reading: Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23

Both we and our ancestors have sinned;
   we have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
They made a calf at Horeb
   and worshiped a cast image.
They exchanged the glory of God
   for the image of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God, their Savior,
   who had done great things in Egypt,
wondrous works in the land of Ham,
   and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
Therefore he said he would destroy them—
   had not Moses, his chosen one,stood in the breach before him,
   to turn away his wrath from destroying them.                                             –Psalm 106:6, 19-23

Saying we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 2:23) and not doing anything about it is rather like saying “I eat too much” or  “I do not exercise enough.” Confession without action to change is fruitless whether trying to become healthier or trying to create a better world in which to live.

We invest a lot of energy being concerned about the chaos in our world today from tragic shootings to devastating storms to public policy. We worry a lot, and we may even pray a lot, but what are we doing to make a positive change? Do we keep our various elected representatives apprised of our stance on issues? Do we educate ourselves on the problems exploring a variety of resources? I watched a short video this morning outlining the problems homeless people without proper ID encounter. I had no idea. Walking a mile in someone else shoes might be illuminating.

We serve a risen Savior who calls us to do justice and promises to go with us and guide us every step of the way. We do not have to do everything; we do have to do something. There is a niche or two for each of us, and if we all fulfill our calling, we can create a world ruled by love.

Prayer: God of Justice, turn our lip service into justice realized. Amen.

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.

Sins of Omission

Edmund BurkeLiving in the Spirit
September 5, 2016

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28

At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert towards my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse— a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgement against them.                                                                                                       –Edmund Burke
‘For my people are foolish,
   they do not know me;
they are stupid children,
   they have no understanding.
They are skilled in doing evil,
   but do not know how to do good.’ –Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. (Galatians 6:7)

We all must deal with the consequences of our actions or lack of actions. Some have had the first part of this statement drilled into our very being from infancy. I fear we pay far less attention to what happens when we fail to act. What is the cost of our sins of omission?

I seriously doubt that any taking the time to read this are skilled in doing evil. Most of us pay our bills and taxes, go to church, even feed the hungry and clothe the naked to some degree. We may assert ourselves to standing up for what is right when it directly impacts our lives. How quickly do we react to injustice when it primarily affects others?

We may be skilled at ignoring evil. There is a lot of hate and fear being tossed around now regarding strangers we do not know and may never meet. I think it important that we get to know some of these strangers. We need to see for ourselves that they love their children just like we do. Have all the same good and bad traits that we have, and experience joy and pain just like we do. It does not matter if they are newly arrived immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ, persons of differing color, poor, working class, middle class or rich.

Even if we never meet all the others of the world, we need to accord them the same status that we have of being children of God. They are our brothers and sisters. Would you want your biological relatives treated as some of these strangers are treated? What would you do to help your biological relatives in similar circumstances? More importantly, what would Jesus do?

Prayer: Lord, welcoming the stranger as you command us throughout the Bible sometimes puts us outside our comfort zone. Be our comforter and enable our advocacy. Amen.

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 American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.