What is a Sin of Omission?

“Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.”

2 Samuel 11:2

Ponder This

Second Samuel 11:1 says: “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But (notice that the Holy Spirit put the word but there) David remained at Jerusalem.” Then, in today’s verse, it was time to go to bed, but David was getting out of bed. It was at evening tide that he arose from his bed. In these two verses, we see that David committed the sin of idleness. He committed the sin of omission.

What is a sin of omission? The sin of omission is failure to do what you ought to be doing. James said, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). It is a greater sin to fail to do what you ought to do than to do what you ought not to do. If you’re doing what you ought to do, you can’t do what you ought not to do, right? Nobody can do two things at one time. If we’re doing what’s right, we can’t also be doing what’s wrong. If we’re thinking what’s right, we can’t also be thinking what’s wrong. David got in trouble simply because he was not doing what he ought to have done.

  • What is something you know you should be doing but have failed to do?
  • How might you practice obedience to avoid sins of omission today?

Practice This

Make a list of things you know God is calling you to do, but you hesitate to act on. Create a plan for how you will practice obedience in these areas and then follow that plan.

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