God Cares: The Sin of Doing Nothing

Published on May 15, 2024
Category: Devotion | Behold!

Read: Deuteronomy 22-24

If you see your fellow Israelites ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner.

Deuteronomy 22:1

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 everyday 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 evil. When we have the opportunity to do good, we are 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 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 the Samaritan 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 loving others through tangible acts of compassion.

In describing a future judgment scene (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 neglect 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 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, and 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 our neighbor is asking us today is when I needed a neighbour were you there, were you there?

Have I allowed my faith to become stagnant, lacking the accompanying works of love and service that demonstrate its authenticity? Am I truly aware of the needs of those around me, or have I become blind or indifferent to their struggles? 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?

Prayer

Lord, help me reflect your love to my neighbor in need, amen.

Scripture Writing: James 2:14

Song: When I Needed a Neighbour

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

Author

Preethi Alice Jacob

Preethi Jacob is the author of the yearlong devotional At the Potter’s Wheel, Day by Day. Her journey includes teaching a Bible Study Fellowship class, teaching and leading the Sunday School ministry in her church, leading Bible studies, besides counselling young women. She serves on the Global Mission Team of the United Bible Societies and lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and two young adult children.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

1 Comment
  1. Nischal Sukumaran

    Amen

    Reply

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The All Important Question

The All Important Question

Who do you see Jesus as – a historical figure, a good teacher, a moral example to follow? This question that has eternal consequences begs an answer today.