"If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them."
My college philosophy professor and I were good friends. Hugh Caldwell was head of an outdoor activity club and I enjoyed hiking and exploring with him and with that group of college sophomores. I would audit some of his classes occasionally - his kindness was contagious. I never knew whether he was a Christian or not. The subject just never came up. One night before an exam, we even went ice-skating together at midnight.
As I had entered my freshman year at that Tennessee college, I pretty much took a sabbatical from attending church. My only prayers were something like - “God, please let me pass this exam.” I knew God existed and I had even written about Jesus in High School, but as dating and studying took precedence over any spiritual pursuits at that time, I simply ignored my need for prayer and for Christian fellowship.
Fast forward ten years: I asked Jesus to be my saviour and I began a relationship with him in 1985. I wanted to tell everyone I knew the good news that Jesus offers - eternal life, and a friendship with him. A couple of years later, I was fairly certain that the Holy Spirit told me something he wanted me to do - to write to Dr. Caldwell and tell him about my being born again of the spirit, and that Jesus wanted him to open his heart and do likewise. I put it on my to-do list, but I put it at the end. I had a 3 year old son at that time, and a job, and was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the demands of a working mom.
Finally, after about 2 weeks had passed, I wrote Dr. Caldwell a detailed letter about my experience with Jesus. I was content that I had obeyed the directive from the Lord. Three weeks later, I received a letter from the Dean of students with my letter to Dr. Caldwell enclosed. My letter had been opened. Dean Puckett very kindly explained that my letter had reached Dr. Caldwell the day after he had passed away, and that he hoped I did not mind that he had opened it himself. So my letter had arrived too late to be of any benefit to dear Dr. Caldwell.
Now perhaps this Dean had read the letter, and maybe it opened his eyes to the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I’ll never know. I do know that when the Holy Spirit strongly urges me to do something, that I had better obey the prompting quickly. Now the question - was my procrastination a sin? Probably, yes. I’m comforted by 1 John 1:9 “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”