For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
[Matt 25:42-43 NET]
The ‘not doing’ of things they ought to have done–here determines the doom of the unrighteous. They had not been cruel or unkind to any of Christ’s little ones–no such charge is made. They had not wronged anyone. Only neglects are mentioned. They had seen “little ones” hungry, and had not fed them; thirsty, and had not given them drink; naked, and had not clothed them; sick, and had not visited them. They had merely “passed by on the other side” when they saw human need and misery which they might have relieved. Yet their omissions and neglects, count as actual sins.
Many of us are apt to neglect opportunities of helping others, and of relieving distress, never thinking that we are sinning against Christ; that is, are leaving him unhelped and unrelieved in distress, when we might have given him comfort. The result of the teaching should be to make us more thoughtful of others, and more alert to embrace every opportunity of ministry to others in Christ’s name. It is because we do not think–that we fail so often in love’s duty.