Random Blog Clay Feet: November 24, 2007
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Real Sin of Sodom

What was the real sin of Sodom?

Most people's immediate reaction when the word Sodom is mentioned is to assume that the sin they were destroyed over was homosexuality. In fact, that belief is so pervasive and long-standing that the word Sodomite is used to describe a homosexual. But what does the Bible say – not what our assumptions have been?

I was a bit surprised as I compiled the following list from perusing through many of the verses that refer to Sodom throughout the Bible.

Hypocrisy – lots of religion, pleasant religion, but not connecting with God.

Committing of adultery and walking in falsehood (adultery meaning more than just physical).

Not valuing what is really sacred.

Becoming cruel.

Immature leaders who attack the righteous and the mature.

Symbolic Sodom loathed her husband and children.

Lack of hospitality.

Arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.

Those who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant.

Seared conscience – are not bothered by other's sin.

Failing to care for the widow, orphan and stranger.

Indulging in gross immorality and going after strange flesh.

By dreaming, defiling the flesh, rejecting authority, and reviling angelic majesties.

It is rather interesting that very little of the Bible's descriptions of the problems of Sodom and the surrounding cities have to do with homosexuality, even though that is almost exclusively what we associate with it today. I think this is strong evidence of another major blind spot in Christianity in this area. It is so popular to bash homosexuals and “Sodomites” today in Christian circles but it looks to me like most of the sins that God found so offensive in Sodom are sins that are quite overlooked or minimized in the minds and lives of most Christians.

It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah." (Romans 9:29 NIV)

It is just like the schemes of Satan to deceive us into thinking that if we are not homosexual then we are not in danger of the judgments that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah. While we quietly support or join the obnoxious voices of self-righteous critics who loudly denounce “homos” and “queers”, doing everything in their power to heap shame and condemnation on them, it will be found in the light of heaven that those who join the accuser in his spirit of condemnation are in reality many times more guilty of the real sins that shut down the party in Sodom.

This statement comes in the context of addressing religious prejudices and pride that blind people to the truth about what it means to be righteous and the truth about how God views people. If we want to experience the joy of real righteousness and live a life of faith and intimacy with the heart of God, we will have to take seriously the messages of warning about the real sins of Sodom and not hide behind ignorant complacency or pretentious piety.

If one takes the time to review the original story of Sodom and the surrounding culture with a new paradigm of truth, it will be seen that the spirit of inhospitality, selfishness and living for self-gratification at the expense of others was far more central to the problems of Sodom than was the outward symptoms of homosexuality. Romans 1 makes it clear that homosexuality is simply a symptom of suppressing the truth about God, not a root cause in and of itself. And if we are really honest, all of us – and particularly Christians – have suppressed a great deal of truth about God. It may be that our resultant symptoms look quite different than those we condemn, much more like those described in chapter 2. But most things we focus on as being “sin” are really symptoms of sin. For sin at its essence is clinging to lies about our loving heavenly Father who created us to live in vital and intimate connection with His heart and in unselfish harmony with each other. When we abandon that life-giving relationship in favor of independence from our only Source of life we begin to experience more and more of the symptoms that are commonly viewed as sin.

But keeping our attention focused on trying to suppress, manipulate, avoid or regulate symptoms does little to nothing to heal the cause of those symptoms. The people of Sodom had rejected that vital connection with God even though they lived amidst some of the most luxurious blessings of God on the face of the whole planet.

In looking at a map of that region I am confident that before the upheaval of Sodom's destruction that the Jordan river flowed all the way to the Red Sea and that now-desert landscape was then rich and luxuriant with the most productive land in all the earth. Genesis 13:10 states that at that time the valley through there was well watered and like the garden of the Lord. I would suppose that this refers to the Garden of Eden or something similar. In any case, it was almost completely opposite of anything seen there today.

After the destruction of Sodom and the surrounding territories, which I believe was at least partially an eruption of some kind of volcanic activity, the natural flow of the Jordon was cut off, the surrounding countryside was ruined from all the acidic elements spewed up from the eruption and the following years produced what is now the Dead Sea and the arid, barren landscapes that dominate that region.

What is the message in Romans 9:29? What is the resemblance that we would have to them if it were not for the “seed” or remnant that the Almighty has left us? Is it the results of the destruction of those cities that we would look like or is it the culture and problems and way of thinking and living that allowed that destruction to take place?

What is the “seed” or “remnant” that God has left us? What is the important lessons that we need to learn from the warnings of Sodom? Why did Paul place this quotation at this place in the flow of his letter to the Romans?

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