Monday, October 05, 2009

The Sins of Omission

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." As I contemplate and confess my sin and brokenness I certainly have my list of sins of commission. Sins of commission are those things I have done that are apart from and not pleasing to God.

Most people have an easier time dealing with their sins of commission than sins of omission. I think the harder part is dealing with sins of omission. These are the things we are capable of doing and called to do that get left undone. Repentance is not only about confessing and turning away from what we have done to live a new life but also confessing what we have left undone and turning to do it. For me, and I suspect many others it is easier to deal with known sin that we do than the more enigmatic sin of the things we have left undone.

Asking for forgiveness for sins of omission is not just a personal thing. It is not just an individual thing. It is that- make no mistake. Scripture clearly shows that sins of omission were also corporate. For example, the prophets called the nation of Israel to task for neglecting the poor, the widow and the orphan. I recall the words of the prayer of confession in the communion liturgy "forgive us because we have not heard the cry of the needy." Of course, sins of omission move past beyond our forgetting the poor and the needy. A sin of omission might be refusing to go through the door God opens up for personal or corporate witness to our faith. It might be neglecting to heed a call on one's life to do something. It might be not doing something because it is uncomfortable. The list could go on and on and on.

I wonder if we might pray on an individual and corporate basis for God to reveal our sins of omission and then turn towards doing that which we should do.

Lord show us what we have left undone, forgive us for what we have left undone, and help us then to do it.