The Sin of Standing By

Eli was not being judged for sin that he committed, but “for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them” (1 Sam 3:13). This is sin of omission, the failure to do what is right. In this case it is the sin of seeing evil  and doing nothing about it. There are times that we are not able to do anything. Eli was in a position to do something. And we are also often in a position to respond, even if it is simply to speak truth or protest the evil. We are judged with the evil when we know it and do not do what we could do to respond in righteousness. I just finished watching the movie Valkyrie. It is the story of Germans in WWII who attempted to stop Adolph Hitler. They took great risk, and eventually gave their lives; when they failed, they were executed. Knowing they would likely fail, they said, “We have to show the world that not all of us are like him. Otherwise, this will always be Hitler's Germany.” Although they failed to stop Hitler, they succeeded in righteousness. They did something. They did not stand by and watch evil.