A Terrifying Possibility

You may or may not be a Bible reader. But here’s a verse from said Bible:  “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” That’s James 4:17, and today isn’t the first time I’ve read it. But it’s the first time it’s terrified me to the degree that I felt a need to tell someone.

I’ve always read it and thought about the typical moral/ethical issues: giving to the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the homeless, not getting drunk, not lying, etc. But what if it’s bigger than that?

What if “the good” I ought to do is also what I sense God is leading me to do and I don’t, for whatever reason.

If God has implanted an idea in your mind and you feel like–even thought it’s hard to explain–you’re being disobedient by not doing it, you’re feeling what I’ve felt. And I hope it’s not true that it’s sin.

But maybe it is.

Maybe God takes those divine nudges so seriously that he says to not act on them is sinful. And that makes since because sin, in its simplest understanding, is choosing my will over God’s…even if my will is laziness, fear, insecurity, pride…

What do you think? Is it sin? Do you feel this at all?


  1. Chris Hill (@ChrisWHill) · November 1, 2013

    Delayed obedience is disobedience. This is probably what James was alluding to: https://www.bible.com/bible/59/num.14.39.esv

    • patricklmitchell · November 1, 2013

      Very well put, Chris. And that’s where I find myself a lot of times.

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