What Did I Do?

james4_17“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
-James 4:17

When God gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments, there were a lot of “Do not”s.  Do not murder.  Do not steal.  Do not lie.  However, sin isn’t just about doing things that are wrong.  We also sin when we don’t do things that are right.  When you read Luther’s Small Catechism, you see that every commandment that was negative also had a positive.  Don’t murder, but do help to protect your neighbor from harm…and so on.

When we do something wrong, we call it a sin of “commission”, because we are committing the sin.  When we don’t do something good we should have done, we call those sins of “ommission”, because we omitted (didn’t do) that thing we should have done.

Sin is so tricky isn’t it?  We can go all day trying to avoid all these bad things and feel pretty good about our day and not even realize that while we were avoiding those bad things, we also neglected to help the guy we saw stranded on the side of the road or help our co-worker in crisis or stand up against someone who was bullying someone else.  I’m reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan (you can read that parable here).

Of course, the truth is that we never really have those good days.  Sin is something that we struggle with day in and day out and we fail repeated every day.  But the wonderful thing is that Christ’s death covered not only the things we did wrong, but the good things we didn’t do.

Most merciful God,

We confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve your present and eternal punishment. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy name.


Leave a Reply