The Right Thing

James has just ranted against the judgmental in Chapter 4:11-12, the presumptuous in verses 13-14, and the arrogant in verse 16, to illustrate what humility is not (v. 10). Then he takes on the sins of omission.

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

James 4:17

What exactly would be a sin of omission? I mean, that’s a pretty high bar! I feel good when a transgressible moment comes and goes and, wonders never cease, I didn’t say it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t even think it!

James has advanced to those cases in which I should have said it, I should have done it, I should have at least thought it!

“Right” is the Greek word kalos meaning good, fair, beautiful.

We might think first to fall back on the tired cliché, “what would Jesus do?” If you read the words of Jesus and study his works, he’s not exactly straightforward at times, and he’s anything but predictable. Ask his disciples. Then he had supernatural powers. This would be a tricky roll play.

But we’re in the right ballpark. Doing the right thing is something good, fair or beautiful acted on. It’s low hanging fruit originating from the Holy Spirit in my wheelhouse. This is what James is talking about.

Let me say this. When you’re at the point when you’re kicking yourself for–and confessing–missed opportunities like this, you’re finally ready for the big leagues.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for 40 years and counting.
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