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.

[See Matthew 25:31-46.]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

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