In reading through Ezekiel right now, I came across an interesting snippet about Sodom. I frequently hear America compared to Sodom and Gomorrah, with the implication that we will be destroyed due to homosexuality and gross debauchery.
But in Ezekiel 16:49, I read this: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”
Now let me clarify, I believe (as the bible clearly teaches) that homosexuality is a sin. No doubt about it. But so is heterosexual sex outside of marriage. And adultery. And lying and stealing and pretty much anything else that isn’t loving God and your fellow human beings.
If I was going to hate gay people for their sin, I’d have to hate everyone else, including myself. And that is the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches us.
But in reading this passage, I realized that perhaps all the debauchery in Sodom (like the attempt to rape angels in Genesis 19 – that’s probably not a great idea) resulted due to Sodom’s selfish attitude, which it had cultivated through being completely self-centered and self-serving in all things.
Instead of helping people, they sought to please themselves. And that led them down a path were they ceased to care for anyone other than themselves. Seeking pleasure in any way they could, with no regard for God or fellow man.
This is why they were destroyed.
The wickedness there was a symptom of selfishness, not the disease itself. Maybe the rich were bored and looked for new ways to get off. Or maybe the poor, being oppressed, ended up doing horrible stuff out of despair and a desire to exert some control.
Whether or not God views America as being similar or dissimilar to Sodom, I have no idea. Probably in some ways we’re like them and in other ways we are not. But what I do know is that in my own life I have discovered a great deal of selfishness. I worry about my petty problems more than I worry about life and death problems in the lives of others.
I have clean drinking water, so why should I worry about the 1 billion who don’t? I have plenty to eat, so why should the huge percentage of underfed people in the world impact me? I have a loving family, so why should I be concerned for those in prison or alone in a nursing home?
God, help me not to turn toward my own comfortable situation when I see need and despair and hurt. I want to be a vessel for your kingdom to overcome the gates of hell on this earth.