When I think of being punished, be it by God or man, I think in terms of things I do wrong. That is, doing things that I shouldn’t have done; some people call these “acts of commission” — things I have committed.
However, there can also be consequences for not doing the things we should have done. Some call these “acts of omission.”
Jesus talks about acts of omission in a parable about the sheep and the goats. The goats were guilty, not of doing wrong, but of not doing what was right. Their failure was a failure to act. Jesus even gives specific examples: a failure to feed the hungry, a failure to provide water to the thirsty, a failure to show hospitality to the stranger, a failure to give clothes to those in need, and a failure to look after the sick and imprisoned.
Each of these are huge issues — and overwhelming — but enormity is not an excuse for inaction. While one person can’t solve all of these issues — or even one of them — each person can do something, be it simply to help one person who is hungry, thirsty, homeless, needy, or hurting.
Don’t be a goat; help someone today.