Christians are often tempted to think of Christianity as a set of proscriptions forbidding evil actions. Don’t lie, steal, kill, commit adultery, etc. – these are looked upon as the basis of a Christian life. Avoid committing sins, and you are considered by many to have fulfilled the requirements for being a Christian.
This is an incredibly impoverished view of Christianity. Christianity is not simply a set of rules that one must live by. It is a way of life demanded by Christ. Failure to live in imitation of the Master is itself sinful. Self-induced paralysis is as much a sin as murder.
When we commit acts against the moral code, we commit sins of commission. When we fail to live a Christian life, we commit sins of omission. Both sins of commission and omission are in fact sins.
Sins of omission are certainly more subtle than sins of commission. It is easy to look upon a a lie we tell or a test we cheat on and say that that action is wrong. But the helping hand we fail to lend to a friend in need, the chores or daily tasks we refuse to accomplish, the paper we wait until the last possible minute to finish – these are all sins which we often fail to think about. They are sins, however, and in some ways even more destructive than sins of commission.
For the truly Christian life is a full and active life. The saints, the greatest exponents of the Christian life, lived lives charged with meaning and purpose. They were always on call for their Master, constantly doing His will. And their full, fruitful, and active lives exemplified this Christian lifestyle.
Today, those closest to service of God are constantly doing His will. Holy contemplatives spend their lives in daily communication with their Master. Holy priests, religious, and single people in the active life spend their days ministering to their fellow man (physically and spiritually), and sharing the spirit of Christ’s love with others. Holy individuals in the married state constantly .
Sins of omission destroy this spirit of service which is the hallmark of Christianity. We are called to sainthood, all of us, and we are called to act entirely in accord with the will of the master.
But God’s Kingdom cannot be spread by one spending hours staring at a screen, with a TV remote in hand.