We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.
Sometimes we sin by what we do; sometimes we sin by what we don’t do. There are sins of commission, and sins of omission. Sometimes it seems as if, no matter which way we go, it’s wrong.
This confession reminds us that we can sin by not acting as well as by acting. We are used to thinking of sin as something we do, not as something we haven’t done. Yet, how many times have we neglected to do the things God asks of us? How many times have we overlooked a chance to show mercy to someone, or kindness? How often have we neglected to care for the hungry, the imprisoned, the naked? How often do we intend to do “the right thing” but then forget to do it?
Recognizing our sinfulness is not just a matter of tallying up what we’ve done wrong; it is also recognizing the ways we might have honored, or obeyed, or loved God, but didn’t.
Righteousness is not just about who we aren’t. It’s about who we are.