When I was growing up there was a good deal of talk about sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission were sins that you committed or did. Sins of omission were sins that you committed by not doing something. Paul alludes to this in Ephesians 4 when he speaks of the “Put Off/Put On principle. It is not enough to stop lying. You must begin to tell the truth. Stopping stealing is good but it does not go far enough. You must now work hard in order to be able to give to others. James speaks clearly of sins of omission, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).
While we are pretty good at making up excuses for sins of commission, we are experts at making up excuses for sins of omission. We blame others, circumstances, personalities, schedules, and just about any thing that eases our conscience. We would witness more (or at all) if the circumstances would present itself. I would read my Bible but I always hated reading growing up. Now that Covid has come into our lives it gives us an excuse that no one can refute in order to hold us accountable. It has replaced, “my family”, as the go to excuse for our lack of doing the right thing when it is brought before us by the Holy Spirit.
I am not saying that Covid, my family, or any other excuse is not a legitimate reason for not doing the right thing but I would change the way that we address that. If you are neglecting your family and you must refrain from doing something you believe is right, then the issue is in what you believe is right, not you saying no to it. Apparently that was not a right thing for you to do. The Holy Spirit does not lead us towards things that would cause us to be neglectful to our family. But I would be careful with that kind of thinking. It can easily become a sinful excuse to not do what we know is right.
So how can you avoid making excuses and not doing what is right? Stay close to the Spirit of God and the Word of God and allow them to magnify in your heart the desire to do what is right. Allow them to create a zeal to do what is right. That is a word we do not hear much of today...zeal. Zeal is the great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. If I truly desire to do what is right then I will find reasons to do it and not excuses not to do it.
My wife and I were scheduled to go to Texas in October. I was really looking forward to seeing the Alamo and spending some time away with my wife. Texas is struggling right now with Covid and some unrest. Flying is a little dicey right now. The friends we were going with did not feel comfortable and neither did my wife. It looked like Covid was going to claim another activity bu my zeal for the trip would not let it die that quickly. I looked for every way to make the trip work. But, in the end, I had to admit that it was foolish to go...probably (I still hold out a little hope).
When we have a zeal for what is right then we will do all that we can to find reasons to do that good. We will pursue peace. We will have great enthusiasm for the Word. We will show great energy in looking for openings to share the gospel. Phrases like, “a pack of wild dogs couldn’t keep me from…” or “come hell or high water I will…” will be part of our mentality. We won’t see road blocks but mountains to climb. We will stop thinking about the “what ifs” that stop us and we will think about the blessings that may come from doing what is right. Other people’s needs will drive us more than our needs. We will have Holy Spirit insight into knowing and seeing our excuses for what they are and Holy Spirit power to step towards accomplishing what is right to do. In the end, we will be more like Jesus who always did what was right to do. Know your excuses. No excuses.