Most of the time when we think about sin, we think of things we do that we ought not to do. This is certainly true; sin can be defined this way. The Ten Commandments instruct us not to have other gods, not to take the Lord’s name in vain, not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to bear false witness, and not to covet. When we do things that God forbids, it is called a “sin of commission.”
There are also what’s called “sins of omission.” These are things that we fail to do that we ought. Going back to the Ten Commandments, we are told to worship God alone, remember the Sabbath, and honor our parents. Jesus also commands us to forgive (Matt. 18:21-22), love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48), pray (Lk. 18:1), make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20), clothe the naked, visit prisoners, and feed the hungry.
During Lent, we invite the Holy Spirit to do a deeper work in our lives. This means opening ourselves to an intimate examination and the conviction of sin. It’s very possible that this Lenten season the Holy Spirit is not asking you to stop doing something that you ought not to do, but to start doing something that you haven’t been doing.
When Jesus sent a letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7, he rebuked them not for doing something wrong. Rather, he rebukes them because they have stopped loving him, each other, and their enemies the way that they used to. He calls them to repent! (Rev. 2:5) Here, repentance means doing something, not stopping to do something.
What is God asking you to do this Lenten season? Be free from sin, and get going!