The Sin of Doing Nothing

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

James 4:17 (King James Version)

Picture this situation.  You are at the office and you notice that some of your co-workers are doing things that are contrary to company policy.  What would you do?  There are two choices, you could either inform your employer or you could do nothing and pretend that nothing is wrong.

Most of the time, we tend to follow the second course of action.  Our excuse is that the situation does not affect us and it is not our job to notify the boss of bad behavior, that is his job.  Besides, if the culprits found out that it was you that got them in trouble, they may make your life at work very unpleasant.

What harm is there to be silent about the sinful behavior of others?  Sins that are left unchecked tend to expand to other sins and could cause more harm to those around them.  If one looks into history, certain things could have been avoided if someone stepped up and put a stop to it before it got worse.

One example that I can think was the Holocaust.  There were some that were in Germany during the 1930’s and 1940’s that didn’t believe in the ideology of the Nazis (specifically their anti-Jew policy) because they knew that it was wrong.  However instead of speaking up about it (out of fear of retaliation) they kept silent.

What would have happened, if they stood up to the Nazi regime?  They would have been persecuted, I have no doubt, but I do believe that their courage would have inspired others of like mind to rise up too.  Who knows, they may have prevented the atrocities of the Holocaust from happening.

Consider what James says in the verse above.  It is a sin to not do something that you know must be done.  It does not matter what the circumstances are, we must always strive to do what is good, even if it cost us our own lives.

Let’s think about the Apostles, the good thing they were called to do was to preach the Gospel of Jesus to all people.  Even though their actions would cause them to face tremendous suffering from those who would oppose the Truth, they did it anyway.  They understood that if they didn’t do it, people would lose their souls and that would be their fault.  What’s worse they would be living their lives in disobedience to the One who saved them.

What hinders you and me from doing good for God?  It is mostly out of fear that we abstain from doing what we are called to do.  However such fear is not grounded in the Lord and suggests that we don’t trust Him to care for us; such actions are sinful.

Therefore, let us surrender our fears before the feet of Christ.  Let’s open our eyes to the good that we can do in this world.  If you see someone who doesn’t know Christ, don’t pass them by.  Do what is good and share the Gospel.  They may or may not accept it, that doesn’t matter, you did your part.



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