Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Knowing To Do Good and Not Doing It = Sin!

I enjoyed watching Novak Djokovic's tap his racket in appreciation for a good shot that Rafael Nadal made during the finals of Wimbledon yesterday. That is what gentlemanly tennis players do to show they acknowledge what a good shot an opponent has made. Even when you are winning, you still take time to acknowledge the efforts of others! I play with a guy who hardly ever acknowledges any good shot or barely shakes your hand after winning or losing a set. His rudeness is his problem, but it did get me to thinking.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. 
James 4:17 (New King James Version)

If you look at the passage in the Bible, you see that this sentence comes at the end of the paragraph about planning what you will do tomorrow. As James highlights the need to turn every day over to God, he reminds us that God has a positive agenda for our lives. God has not simply told us what to avoid, He has told us and modeled for us what we should be doing.

The puritans classified all sin into 2 categories. There are the sins of commission. The things that we do that we aren’t supposed to do. When we commit a sin, when we do something that is wrong, it is a sin of commission. But from James 4:17 and others they recognized that there are also sins of omission. These are the good things that we know we should do but we don’t do them. When we don’t do something that is right, we commit the sin of omission.

So in any given day and any given opportunity, we must respond accordingly:
1. If we need to give someone a cup of cold water, we do it.
2. If we see someone worthy of praise, we do it.
3. If someone has done a great thing, we acknowledge it.
4. We congratulate others. To keep quiet is rude and sin!
5. We don't withhold encouragement for a job well done or shot well made! I think you get my drift!

(Here is a thought provoking question for all you Facebook peeps- Is failing to congratulate or acknowledge a birthday or make comments on Facebook sin?).

I tweeted this the other day, 'A wrongdoer is often one who has left something undone, not always one who has done something.'

Jesus told a story about a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was robbed and beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Before long a priest came along and saw him lying there. But there was temple worship to be done, and the priest had an appointment to meet. Besides, he could walk past and not break any of the 613 laws, but if he helped the injured traveler, he would become ritually unclean and not be able to participate in temple worship. Realizing it, he walked on by. A Levite was the next to pass. He was in a hurry to get to worship also, and if he helped, he might not make it in time, so he moved over to the other side of the road. The third to come by was a Samaritan. If Jesus were telling the story to us today, He might use a gang member or an illegal alien for the last one to walk past. To the Jews that Jesus was speaking to, a Samaritan was a nobody, somebody to be avoided. But to the injured man that Samaritan was a savior. He cleaned the crime victim up, took him to a holiday inn, paid for his room and came back to check on him. The point that Jesus was making when He told that story was that the person who was being obedient to God wasn’t those guys who were in such a hurry to get to a worship service. The one who was obedient to God was the one who understood the second greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Who was right in this story, it was the one who knew to do right and did it. Those who knew to do right and didn't were wrong and guilty of sin!

So, this thought process has made me keenly aware that I need to practice blessing others with a 'Thank you,' 'Great job,' 'Congratulations,' etc. For me to withhold that, it is sin.

How about you? It is sin for you too!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding us Pastor.