I was talking with a friend the other day, and he was going through a difficult time. He had recently gone through a divorce. There were kids involved, and he was frustrated about multiple things: a conflictual relationship with his ex-wife, financial struggles because of paying child support, and sadness about not being able to see his kids every day. He expressed regret about his decision to get married so young. He said to me, “Josh, you did it right to avoid all of this stuff.”
I thought about his statement a lot as I went to bed that night. You see, in my dating relationships, as well as many other areas of my life, I tend to play it safe. I’m cautious, wary about getting ‘stuck’ in a situation in which I wouldn’t be happy. And because of this, I do tend to avoid situations like the one my friend was complaining about. My life and relationships are relatively ‘clean.’
But as I thought about it more, I wondered if there might be a downside to my tendency as well. You see, even though my cautious strategy makes it less likely for me to get into a life situation that is messy, I also wonder if I miss out on opportunities or experiences. How much of life am I missing out on because I tend to play it safe, worrying about the possible negative outcomes of my choices or actions?
I think there are two types of sins: sins of omission and sins of commission. If you commit more sins of commission, you probably have a tendency to get yourself in difficult situations, which lead to unpleasant consequences. On the other hand, if you commit more sins of omission, you probably miss out on a lot of life because you don’t push yourself into areas of discomfort. I tend to commit more sins of omission. What about you?
Whatever our tendency, I think we all might benefit by thinking about bringing our ‘sins’ more into balance. If you tend to commit more sins of commission, perhaps make a commitment to be more cautious before making a decision. Maybe you could wait a day before making a choice, or talk your decision over with someone you trust and get a second opinion. On the other hand, if you tend to commit more sins of omission, perhaps make a commitment to push yourself into one new area that scares you. Maybe it’s something about your job, or your relationships, or your health. Perhaps push yourself to the point where it is likely you might make at least one mistake. Just try it, and see how it feels.
We are going to make mistakes. That’s part of what it means to be human. But if we work toward balancing our sins of omission and commission, I think we have a better chance of living full, abundant, and healthy lives.
Discussion: Do you tend to make more sins of omission or sins of commission? What is one step you could take toward more balance between the two?