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The Sin of Omission

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

September 9, 2019 Luke 6:6-11 The Sin of Omission In this healing story set on the Sabbath in Luke, Jesus deals with the sin of omission. Growing up in the Protestant tradition, I always thought that sin was sin. It was bad and you shouldn't do it or you would make God and your parents mad. As I grew, I learned that there is a lot of "grey" area when it comes to sin. As long as I didn't do the big ones, I thought I was okay and then I took a Greek language class. The professor explained that the Greek word used in the gospels was actually an archery term. In competition, the one closest to the bull's eye won and the distanced between where the arrow landed and the center was called "sin". In other words, anything outside of the bull's eye was sin. If the center of the target for a Christian is the will of God, then any action that misses the center is sin. Suddenly, the grey area went away and Paul's words, "we have all fallen short of the glory of God", hit home.

Needless to say, I began to try an orientate my life to "hitting the center". I thought I was doing pretty well until I learned about the "sin of omission". The sin of omission occurs when you choose to not even shoot at the target. By not doing anything, we are still missing the mark. I think this is what Jesus was trying to teach the people on that day in the synagogue. He asked if it we were to do good or evil on the Sabbath. Since Jesus had the power to help heal someone, if he choose not to do good he would in fact be doing evil by withholding the healing the man needed. The leaders criticized him for healing on the Sabbath but if he didn't heal then he would have been committing the sin of omission.

The leaders where using the "Law" as the center of the target but Jesus was using the will of God as the center. What center do I use to make my daily decisions knowing that not making a decision is to decide on omission? If I have been given the gifts and grace by God to do good and choose not to act or speak up, have I not done evil by my silence and inaction? A world in which no one acts or speaks out for fear of criticism is still a sinful world. How will I act today?

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