The Sin of “NOT …”

We often think of sin as something we “do”, but Romans 1 reminds us that it also often involves what we do NOT do.  Verse 31, speaking of those who are worthy of God’s wrath, says that they are: “unloving, unmerciful.”  Look carefully at these two qualities for just a moment:

Neither of these symptoms of a life that has rejected God is really something you actively “do”, like adultery or homosexual practice or stealing, as much as they consist of what you do NOT do. This verse reminds us that NOT loving people is a sin. NOT showing mercy is ungodly as well.  James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Elie Wiesel said “The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference.” This condems many of us.  Perhaps you might claim that you have done no active “wrong” towards anyone recently, but that does not necessarily mean that you are right with God regarding them.  The greater question is, have you purposefully done them any GOOD?  Have you actively loved? Have you performed practical deeds of mercy towads them?

We need to remember that scripture tells us that God IS love. He is also merciful.  If we are truly walking with Him, our lives will be marked by more than a mere absence of evil; they will be characterized by the doing of active deeds of love and mercy.  NOT to be so is no small thing; rather it is a sin worthy of our most fervent prayers and attention.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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