Whenever the word sin comes to mind, we often associate it with doing wrong, such as lying, stealing, murder..but what about failing to do good to others? What!?!?! It’s a sin to fail to do good to others??? How is that so?
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
In this passage, Jesus is pretty much telling us what we do or fail to do to others we also do or fail to do to Him. When we do good to others, show others love and kindness, we are also doing good to Jesus and showing Him love and kindness. However, when we fail to do good to others, we fail to do good to Jesus. This makes sense in that when Jesus came, He brought a new commandment:
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Jesus commands us to love others as He loves us. This is easier said than done. Just thinking about how much Jesus loves us…it’s hard to wrap our minds around it. His love for us is unconditional…it has no limits or boundaries…He loves us with reckless abandon. Whew! Think about it: His ultimate act of love was dying on the cross for our sins so that we can spend eternity with Him.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. We didn’t have to get ourself together and stop sinning…we had to do nothing to earn His love. He loved us just because. This is the kind of love He wants us to display to others. Demonstrating this unconditional love is easy when dealing with those who are kind to us…but what about those who hate us or continue to hurt us? Do we have to love them too? What about doing good to others? Are we only supposed to do good to those who do good to us? Or do we only do good to those we know will give us something in return?
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
As believers we are called to a higher standard. If we simply love those and do good to those who are easy to love, we are no different than unbelievers. We are to do good to those who hurt us. We are to do good to those who cannot do anything for us. That’s the thing about loving the way that Jesus does…it’s unconditional meaning that nothing has to be done to earn this love. We love just because…it’s simple as that. My favorite story in the Bible of someone who did good to someone without expecting anything in return is the story of Rebekah. The story is found in Genesis 24. Basically, Abraham sends out his servant to Abraham’s home town to find a wife for his son Isaac. So the servant sets out on this long journey with 10 camels carrying all kinds of gifts for the future Mrs. Isaac. When the servant arrives to Abraham’s home town, he stops at the well right outside the city. Him and his camels are super thirsty…I mean dying of thirst. So the servant prays:
12 And he said, “O Lord,God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. 13 Behold,I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”
So come alongs Rebekah who has no clue as to who this man is, why he is at the well…no clue at all.
15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. 16 The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.17 Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.” 18 She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19 When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. 21 The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not.
What Rebekah did is an amazing example of doing good to others without expecting anything in return…she did good to a complete stranger! Now picture this: It’s a scorching hot, sunny day and Rebekah is heading to the well to get some water for her family. So she goes down to the well to fill up a jug that can hold a gallon of water, which weighs 8 pounds. As she’s done filling the jug to make that long trek back home, a man who she does not know, stops her asking for a drink of water. Does she get an attitude? Nope, she quickly offers him the water. Then she looks over and sees he has 10 camels and offers to give them something to drink. Now this is no easy task. Thirsty camels can drink up to 30 gallons of water…stay with me here, okay. There were 10 camels and each one of them was thirsty meaning they would need 30 gallons of water…30×10…that was 300 hundred gallons of water! Can you imagine how tired she must have been just from thinking about all of the trips she would have to make to that well to quench the thirst of those camels??? That didn’t stop her from offering to do kindness to this man. She didn’t stop until each of those camels’ thirst was quenched. This is such an amazing example of doing kind to others…of showing someone love! That’s what Jesus wants from us!
At times it is hard to be kind to others, especially if you’re having a bad day or you don’t feel well or you have to do kind to someone who hurt you. Despite all that, we are still called to show others love. When the Lord presents you with an opportunity to show someone kindness, seize that opportunity, jump on that…don’t let it pass you by.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.”
It all boils down to this, when you are able to do good to others, do it. Don’t hold back just because you don’t feel like it or that person upset you. That’s a sin of omission…that’s going against what God has called you to do.