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by Luke Kincaid

Last week my mom and I took Seth for an afternoon walk (which is usually more like us chasing after Seth as he goes for a run!) While out, I began a brief conversation with an elderly gentlemen as he was tidying up his verge. Everything was going well until he described the men who would often stand outside his property in the most derogatory way that exists in South Africa – using the disgusting “K” word. Now I am in no way a fan of racism and have often been quite vocal against it. But upon hearing this word for the first time in this conversation I was quite taken aback to say the least. While speaking to this man I was holding Seth in my arms and really wasn’t keen to have such language spoken around him. By the time he used this word for the second or third time I tried my best to make my exit. We said our goodbyes and left and while walking away my mom said, “Why did he have to use that word?”

While thinking back on this interaction and everything I know about addressing racism in a one on one situation, I realized I had chickened out by not saying anything. If I did say something in regards to challenging the demeaning language used there is a possibility that the conversation would have become uncomfortable and may even have sparked an argument from his side. The sad fact is not only that I was too scared to confront sin in this moment but that I sinned myself in my lack of action. The following is a verse that is sobering to remember in those moments in life where we know we need to say or do something:

17 So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it – James 4:17

This is one of the key verses when it comes to discussing sins of omission. Compelling Truth defines this phrase for us in this way:

“People sometimes speak of sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are those sinful actions that are proactively done. Lying or stealing are examples of sins of commission. A sin of omission is a sin that takes place because of not doing something that is right. Examples could include not praying, not standing up for what is right, or not sharing Christ with others.”

It’s hectic to think that we can sin by simply not acting in a particular situation. This was an important reminder for me since it is hypocritical for me to be so passionate about speaking out against racism, but not taking an opportunity to actively challenge someone who is revealing their racist tendencies through their words. I was grateful to be comforted by one of Graham’s blogs which he wrote on April 3rd and I would like to end today’s blog borrowing from part of his quote by C.S. Lewis which said:

“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again… This process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God.”

Instead of falling into my normal pattern of being too hard on myself, I choose instead to ask for forgiveness from God and be ready to try again if a situation like this ever occurs again, and depend on the empowerment I can only receive from the Holy Spirit.


Much love,


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Caryl

    A lesson for all of us. Thank you Luke.

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