Sodom: A Follow up

I want to talk a bit about homosexuality.

And rigid beliefs.

And intractable hearts that don’t allow the Spirit to transform them.

And why we Christians seem to value sexual sin – any kind of sex, but homosexuality in particular – a higher order sin than any other.

Because I don’t think God does.

This subject piggyback’s off another blog I read a few of days ago entitled simply, Sodom.

So where do we get off thinking Sodom was destroyed for homosexuality? Well, if you have narrowness of vision, it begins and ends with Genesis 19:4-11.

Really.AmyPoehler

But let’s go back for a moment to Genesis 18:20. “And the Lord said, ‘The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.’”

At this point, God reveals His plan to destroy the cities to His friend Abraham, who negotiates with God that if He finds even ten righteous among the city, God will not destroy it.

Enter two angels at the city gate; Lot sees them and bows down to them “with his face to the earth.” (Genesis 19:1) Lot invites the two gentlemen to his home to dine and spend the night. Here, the “all important” Genesis 19:4-11 relays the story of all the village men of Sodom, young and old, who come to Lot’s house to terrorize these visitors.

This is not about sex or relationship; this is about rape and violence. When Lot refused to hand over his visitors, he offered them his daughters to assuage their vicious craving. This wasn’t lust; it was greed. Men were worth more, and Lot offered them his possessions of lesser value to protect his celestial guests.

Now, in 19:13 the angels tell Lot to gather his family and take them out of the city because it will be destroyed. Why? “Because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

Please now, those of you ready to jump the gun and declare the sin: it is still not defined by God or the angels!

Ah, but now we come to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 16:15-17:24 is all about being unfaithful to God – it’s about breaking the Old Testament Covenant God established with Moses. Israel continually turned away from God, looking for reasons to abandon trust with Him. In this passage, God uses the terms whore, whoring, prostitute or adulterous over 20 times. It has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with turning back to idol worship when God gave them everything. God defines the sin for which Sodom’s was destroyed – and it isn’t what you think.

In addition, God says unfaithfulness is worse than anything Sodom may have done. (emphasis mine)

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:48-50)

I mean, gosh – God didn’t even think enough about the “abomination” to name it. Like it was almost an afterthought. So what does God name as the guilt of Sodom?

Pride.

Excess of food of wealth but not aiding the poor and needy.

And THIS, God declares, was not as sinful as idol worship. As breaking faith. As not trusting He will wholly and completely love and care for you. Grant you grace and mercy when you need it. Give you comfort, compassion and connection to His heart.

See – Jesus was God come to life in human form. Jesus was the personification of the Father. (“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30)

He told us what’s most important: ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

He said, Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)

He said, By this all people will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

As His disciple John said, Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

This message of love and hope also posted on Church Set Free

26 comments

  1. As someone else said, a touchy subject & you handled it well. My thinking on this has changed a lot over the past months. It’s too easy for Christians to jump on the bandwagon & condemn people as a group. We must love people as Jesus loved people & taught us to love our neighbour. When we judge & condemn we are claiming a position that does not belong to us to claim. I heard a Pastor once say, “Just bring people to Christ & let the Holy Spirit make the changes in them”
    When some Christians get involved in issues & agendas they just give all Christians a bad name in the eyes of unbelievers.
    P.S. I’ve moved The Tony Files to self hosted, still the same url

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    1. “Just bring people to Christ & let the Holy Spirit make the changes in them.” Wow, I like this, Tony.

      We simply have to separate ourselves from the automatic reactions of the world – fear due to ignorance, stereotyping, finger pointing and revenge – and cling to the behavior and attitudes of Jesus. He went out of his way to know individuals the religious folks deemed to be outcasts and sinners. It’s what we need to do. And we’re not doing very well.

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  2. Well said, Susan. I agree that sin is sin. You’re brave to tackle this subject.
    I’ve got a draft post sitting and waiting for me to have the courage to post one day.
    It’s our rejection of Jesus that stops us from getting in the gate, not a particular brand of sin.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Wendy. I appreciate it. Have a peaceful weekend.

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  3. Well, as a somewhat lapsed RC, I may not really have the background to address this issue, other than to say individualizing and accepting people is the best bet. I will leave it to God to judge what is right and wrong, other than what we know in our hearts by following Christ’s example and His true teachings.

    That said, I have a Four Square SIL who tells me adamantly that homosexuality is wrong. My Evangelical ex-boyfriend and his wife tell me that it is an abomination according to scripture. I can say nothing to that because I am no biblical scholar of any kind.

    Having any trait that is not part of the mainstream makes life more difficult than it already is. I have no idea what it is like to be gay and cannot imagine it, so I just don’t think about it. It doesn’t attract or repel my attention, other than to wish all people kindness.

    But, this is an interesting interpretation of Sodom and shows your level of research and inspiration. Thank you for dealing with this so sensitively and thoroughly, Susan. A lot to chew on here.

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    1. The bottom line for me, Beth, is that we as Christians stop dehumanizing people at all. Even though Jesus called out the Pharisees, he still made time to dine with individuals, took time to teach and listen to those with question. It’s how Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea came to believe and were courageous enough to claim his body.

      I’m simply saying we need to put our focus on the right things.

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      1. Amen to that. I agree that we must stop dehumanizing, pigeon-holing, over-generalizing and condemning people for their differences from us. After all, how I am to know what is worse, my flaws or those of some other person? I cannot even conceive of how God still finds a way to love us when we are so often so unlovable. The least we can do is be accepting of others.

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  4. Pure excellence! Thanks so much for putting into words what I’ve been grappling. Sin is sin and no sin is worse than another in God’s eyes at least to my way of thinking. And all it takes to receive His forgiveness is a contrite heart and a willingness to break the cycle of sin in our lives. And no one to my knowledge has achieved perfection in that area. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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    1. Oh, Natalie, thank you! Your addition here really means so much. Bless you for contributing your thoughts. ❤

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      1. You’re so welcome, Susan. Thank you for this very sensitive and caring post. Hugs and Love, N 🙂 ❤

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  5. You’re right, sin is sin is sin. The problem I have with a lot of people today is saying that homosexuality is NOT a sin, because the government made it legal. It is important to remind people, especially fellow believers, that it is a sin, but do so lovingly. I cringe when I see Christians ‘loving’ people so much that they condone sin. That is not love. An unrepentant spirit will not enter the Kingdom of God. Saying homosexuality is not a sin (which I’m not saying your doing, these are simply my thoughts on the matter) is going one step past unrepentant to acceptance and normality. I believe we as Christians need to share the truth about this issue just as much as we should be sharing the truth about abortion, divorce, and other issues that people have deemed “ok” even though God made it clear that they are sins.
    And homosexuality was listed as one of Sodom’s transgressions still. God found it important enough to mention. And several times in the New Testament Jesus warns us against sexual sin or being “sexually immoral”.
    Very nice, very well thought out blog post however.

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    1. Thank you.

      My issue still is we have to remember when we group people who have a common trait together, we remove their individuality. We assume things about all of them. We focus on one trait and decide they have all characteristic, behavior and ideas the same.

      They do not. And they are beautifully created in God’s image just you or I.

      That’s why it’s SO important to get to know individuals.

      If I decided all blondes were adulterers, (and adultery is called out as sin), I might focus my efforts on calling out all blondes. I might concentrate my political efforts on making adultery illegal because Jesus warned against it. Rather than taking the time to show love or compassion to someone caught in adultery – as Jesus in fact did without condemnation – I might continue to condemn all blondes thereby hindering their access to the kingdom.

      I believe when Jesus said the only to way to the Father is through Him, he didn’t mean the only way is to shove accusation at people. I believe he mean we are to “love people so much” they develop a desire to walk through the door because they cannot find that kind of love, grace and acceptance anywhere else.

      And honestly, thank you for your thoughts as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great points on a touchy subject in the church, Susan. It was pride, injustice, unfaithfulness, and hardness of heart that God always came against. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes there’s stuff I just gotta say, Mel. Definitely a touch subject – but we need to come together on this. We need to stop stereotyping and begin to know people as Jesus did – one human being at a time.

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  7. Thank GOD somebody is walking through the Scripture thoughtfully, slowly, honestly, and looking at the big picture. What a concept! Blessings to you today. –Steve

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    1. Oh, Steve, thank you so much. I do my best – couldn’t do it without the help of the Spirit. Ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. And all of God’s people said, Amen. I discovered that passage awhile ago. What a revelation!

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    1. It is, isn’t it? We have to stop grabbing onto a single verse and holding onto it with a death grip. We have to read the Bible as a whole story about Jesus and His huge part in our restoration to our Father’s heart.

      If we remain in condemnation mode, we deny why God came to us in human form – why His heart is so huge, and why He loves us so much.

      We must focus on restoration, on invitation, on love.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That just makes me tear up. Thanks!

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  9. You know Susan. Homosexuality, lesbian,transgender are sins. Over eating, lying and adultery are sins also. I have always looked at the fact in The book of Genesis man fell from a sinless life and knew death and sin.

    But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our in iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
    Isaiah 53:5

    I believe God bared down on sexual sin so hard,because of the hold it would take on a person’s life. It is important to realize that God does not want one to perish. It is true we have God’s love and grace for those sins. If we will turn from those sins and repent of them. Not keep living in them.

    Sin keeps us from God. Grace restores us to God. If we accept God’s grace. It comes down to a choice. Life or death. It is sad that so many folks have chosen to continue in a sinful life and thereby choose death instead of life. Life is Grace. We serve a loving God.

    Much love Tom

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    1. Hey, Tom. I know your beliefs, my sweet brother, and I know I’m not going to shake them anytime soon.

      I think my point here is that, as Christian, we must stop acting as the world does, which tends to group people, stereotype and dehumanize them, and condemn them as a whole for “lifestyle” and “agendas.”

      As people who follow Christ, we must get to know individuals, as He did, welcome into our lives, and offer them first His love. Because if we only offer them accusation and condemnation as individuals, how will they ever know the love and grace of a God who wants all people to be part of His family?

      I agree: we serve a loving God. And I desire as many individuals as possible to know His heart as you and I do.

      Love to you, too.

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      1. I agree with that 100% my sweet sister. We have all Fell short of the glory of God. Thank you for both post. It didn’t hurt me none ha-ha! The Lord don’t want his people discussing at great length things along these lines. Just loving and sharing the gospel. God will do the rest.

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      2. Oh, amen to that, my brother. Amen to that. ❤

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