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God Cares: The Sin of Doing Nothing

Read: Deuteronomy 22-24

Deuteronomy 22:1 – If you see your fellow Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner.

God calls us to love Him and our neighbor.

All through Deuteronomy the Lord gives instructions for the Israelites, that would set them apart as His people. Instructions range from recognizing and honoring the Lord as God and having no other gods before Him to the minute details of every day living. The Lord was intentional when He said His people are to be different from the rest of the world. And one of those distinctions was to love your neighbor as yourself. When put into action, this command also speaks to the sin of doing nothing, the sin of complacency.

To see your brother in need and to do nothing is to do evil. When one has the opportunity to do good, one is not to ignore it or shy away from it. To pass your brother in need and to hide yourself from them, is to sin against your brother and against God.

Jesus reiterated the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself when He summed up the commandments as loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). This commandment encompasses the entire law and highlights the significance of actively demonstrating love and compassion towards others.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus teaches the importance of showing mercy and kindness to those in need. The religious leaders pass by a wounded man, but it is the Samaritan who demonstrates true love and compassion by stopping to help him. Jesus emphasizes the need to go beyond religious obligations and actively engage in acts of kindness towards others.

James addresses the issue of faith without works, stressing that genuine faith is accompanied by action (James 2:14-17). He gives the example of seeing a brother or sister in need and merely offering empty words without taking practical steps to help them. James declares that such faith is dead and unfruitful, emphasizing the importance of actively loving others through tangible acts of compassion.

In the description of a future scene of judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus says people are separated into two groups based on their works and moral kindness. Those who actively cared for the hungry, thirsty, strangers, sick, and imprisoned are commended as having served Christ Himself. Conversely, those who neglected to help others are condemned. We are called to recognize the opportunities to show love and take action to alleviate the suffering of those in need.

The commandment to love your neighbor as yourself encompasses both a call to action and a warning against complacency. True love is not idle or complacent; it is active and seeks to uplift and support those in need, manifested through compassionate action, extending a helping hand to those in need. As God’s people, we are called to be distinct by demonstrating love, mercy, and kindness to our neighbors. By doing so, we not only fulfill the commandments of God but also reflect His character and bring glory to His name.

The question then our neighbor is asking us today is – when I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there?


  1. Have I allowed my faith to become stagnant, lacking the accompanying works of love and service that demonstrate its authenticity?
  2. Am I truly aware of the needs of those around me, or have I become blind or indifferent to their struggles?
  3. When faced with the opportunity to help someone in need, do I shy away or hide myself, or do I respond with a compassionate heart and a willingness to act?

Scripture Writing: James 2:14

Song: When I needed a neighbour

For more daily devotions like this – At the Potter’s Wheel (Kindle)

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