Acts of Omission

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.

[Matthew 25:31-46]

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at