What do you think about when someone mentions the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? You imagine cities full of sin and wickedness. You think of when God caused literal fire and brimstone to fall upon them, utterly destroying these wicked cities and all their inhabitants.
But what was the sin of Sodom? What wickedness did she commit that brought the wrath of God down upon her head?
For many Christians, this seems to be an easy question to answer. The sin of Sodom was homosexuality! Even when angels came to the city to rescue Lot and his family, the wicked men of Sodom wanted to rape them (Genesis 19:4-5). And in the New Testament, God says that Sodom had been full of wicked sexual perversions, including homosexuality (Jude 7).
But was this wickedness the primary reason that they received God’s judgment?
What was the sin of Sodom? The answer may surprise you:
“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.” (Ezekiel 16:49)
The word “sodomite” is a highly offensive term we use only for people we think are most wicked. Yet if we ourselves do not help the poor and needy, this word applies directly to us. If we are filling our own stomachs, even while we ignore the needs of others, then we are just like the people of Sodom.
If we do not help the poor and needy, then we are sodomites.
To “help the poor and needy” does not mean “pay your taxes and let the government worry about it”.
To “help the poor and needy” means “YOU help them”.
And do not merely give anonymous gifts to strangers. God’s Word calls us to get much more involved than that. God calls us to get our hands dirty, truly investing our time and energy into building relationships with the outcasts of society, especially widows and the fatherless.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
Let us be the children of God, not the children of Sodom.
This article was published in the following newspapers:
Norris City Banner – Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Ridgway News – Thursday, February 12, 2009
Gallatin County Democrat – Thursday, February 12, 2009
Anna Melissa Tribune – Friday, February 13, 2009