Doing Right or Not Doing Wrong – Is it the same thing?

Here is a hypothetical scenario (although sadly, all too often very real):  A girl at school witnesses a fellow student being bullied by a large group of students.  She knows that it is wrong so she does not participate and continues on to class.  Did she do the right thing?  After thinking that over, my next question to you is this:  Is not doing the wrong thing the same as doing the right thing? Clearly we can give this girl kudos for not joining in with the bullies and tormenting this student.  Some might define this as morality or the distinction between right and wrong.  We all have our set of morals, most of which include not doing things we consider wrong.  So morality is good, but is it enough?  In James, it tells us that when we know the right thing to do but don’t do it, it is sin.  Let’s look at what is commonly accepted as The Golden Rule: ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Notice this doesn’t say “Don’t do things to others that you wouldn’t want others to do to you.”  For this would require absolutely no action.  It only requires refraining from action.  The Golden Rule (which by the way is found in Luke 6:31) says “DO unto others”, which of course, requires doing something. This girl knew that bullying was wrong so she didn’t do it.  But she could and probably should have gone a step further and gone to this student’s aid, to defend and support her(him), as she most certainly would have wanted someone to do for her.  So clearly, refraining from doing the wrong thing is not the same as doing the right thing.  Doing the right thing is not always easy, convenient or popular and, it may very well end up costing you something.  But know, it is always the correct thing.

31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31 (NLT)

17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17 (NLT)

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 1 Peter 3:14 (NLT)

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. James 2:8 (NIV)