Time and again Biblical history demonstrates that sins
of silence and omission are just as fatal as sins of public, physical
- Sarah omitted to say that Abraham was her husband;
and was reproved (Gen. 20:16).
- Onan omitted to raise up seed to his brother, and
was slain (Gen. 38:10).
- To omit to hate evil is the same as to commit it
- Because David omitted to enforce the Law's
requirements concerning the transport of the tabernacle, a man died.
His commission of good didn't outweigh his omission here (1 Chron.
- The sin of omitting obedience was as
bad as committing witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23). Even though Saul partially
obeyed God's commandments (1 Sam. 15:20), his omissions of some of them
led to God declaring that Saul had in fact turned back from following
His commandments (1 Sam. 15:11).
- The sin of omitting to care for ones' parents,
albeit on the basis of following Jewish tradition and being generous to
the temple, was understood by the Lord as active transgression of God's
commandment (Mt. 15:3). The commandment [singular] the Lord had in mind
was surely to honour father and mother. He saw that this meant that we
ought to therefore care for our parents in their old age; and omitting
to make that fairly obvious connection and interpretation was seen by
Him as active transgression.
- We have a debt to preach to the world; we are their
debtors, and yet this isn't how we often see it (Rom. 1:14). Time and
again we commit sins of omission here.
- Samuel would have sinned against Yahweh if he ceased
to pray for Israel in their weakness (1 Sam. 12:23). We so easily give
up in prayer for the weak.
- Adam's sin of commission (i.e. eating the fruit) may
well have been a result of his sins of omitting to go forth out of the
centre of the garden and multiply. By one man's inattention (Rom. 5:19
Gk.) sin came into the world. This needs some meditation (see Study
- The Lord taught that to wangle one's way out
of caring for their parents by delegating it to the synagogue was
effectively cursing them, and those guilty must " die the death" (Mk.
7:10,11). To him who knows to do good but does it not, this omission is
counted as sin (James 4:17- written in the context of brethren omitting
to help each other). Likewise He said that if Had omitted to heal the
man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, this would have been 'doing
evil' and even 'killing' (Mk. 3:4). That's how seriously He took
omitting to do good when it's in our power to do it.
- Because the priests omitted to care for
Israel, they were counted as the wolves- their sin of omission was
counted as one of commission (Ez. 34:9,10).
- The sin of keeping silence in the face of others'
oppression is perhaps the most common sin of omission. So many who have
struggled against abusive regimes have come to this conclusion- that
the real abusers were all the good people who remained silent and thus
empowered abusive regimes. "Do ye indeed in silence speak
righteousness?" (Ps. 58:1 RV). Speaking and acting righteously whilst
keeping silent about others' abuse is not righteousness.
- Ps. 44:20 balances the sin of omission against
the sin of commission: “If we have forgotten the name of our God
[omission], or stretched out our hands to a strange god”
[commission]. It makes a good exercise to watch for how many times the
Proverbs treat sins of omission as if they are sins of active
commission. "He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is
a great waster" (Prov. 18:9)- 'mere' laziness, as we may see it, an
omission of working- is the same as the commission of a purposefully
destructive person. And to laze away our hours is perhaps a temptation
in this generation as never before. He who doesn't help those
terminally ill, saying within himself "Behold, we know it not"- will be
judged by God "according to his works" (Prov. 24:11,12). The
internal turning of a blind eye in our attitude is in fact an active
'work' which will be judged at the last day. And again, our generation
has many opportunities to walk on by and claim we never knew. When we
did. And there's no generation like ours for rewarding that attitude,
when it's actually one that could lead to our eternal condemnation. For
we are all terminally ill and need God's urgent, saving attention.
- To not lend to one's poor brother will be counted to
us as sin (Dt. 15:9).
- If we omit to 'visit' the fatherless (in the Hebrew
sense of coming close to, getting involved with, not just 'popping in
to see')- then our religion is defiled and impure (James 1:27).
- " As troops of robbers wait for a man, so the
company of priests murder in the way" (Hos. 6:9) is the basis for the
Lord's parable of the injured man on the Jericho road. But He turns it
round- He makes a difference between the robbers and the priest. And
yet according to this Hosea passage, there is no difference between the
robbers and the priest who passes by. Surely the point of the allusion
to Hosea 6:9 was that the priest who omitted to help was as bad as the
robbers who committed the attack. This is how serious are sins of