On Friday, October 4, 2013 Jodi Detrick—special correspondent to the Seattle Times—published an article online called “Lessons from what Jesus didn’t do.”

The premise of the article was that Jesus revealed as much about God’s kingdom through his non-action as he did through his action. Detrick proceeded to list a number of times when Jesus did not concede to his audience or perform in the ways they anticipated.

Detrick’s thinking is sound, and I have since further developed her ideas and categorized Jesus’ non-action into four main arenas.

Jesus did not act to preserve his reputation.

Jesus did not act to assume his privileges.

Jesus did not act according to the ethical norms of his day.

Jesus did not act violently.

In fact when Jesus chose not to respond to the pressures of those around him, it was always because he had in mind a more loving alternative. This led Detrick to refer to Jesus’ non-action as “kindness by omission”, a phrase I have come to enjoy.

What makes us overly concerned with our reputation at the expense of love?

What causes us to cling to our privileges, rather than extending our resources for the benefit of others?

What kind of ethic forces us to judge first and rescue later?

And why, for God’s sake, are we so damnably violent all the time?

Like Christ we must learn to let love rule both what we do and what we do not do. We must be governed by love in our omission as well as in our commission, cooperating with God to heal the world in both directions.