Sodom and Her Sister Gomorrah
Traditionally, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been used “against” gay people. “God destroyed those infamous twin cities because of the sin of homosexuality,” or so the narrative goes. What’s curious about this narrative is when you open up the Book of Genesis you find nothing of that sort. God and Abraham go back and forth, negotiating terms of destruction. God finally decides to destroy the cities, but not for the reasons you may think. This brings us to the prophet Ezekiel. He offers an alternative understanding of the story for us.
This is what Ezekiel said about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, “This is what your sister Sodom has done wrong. She and her daughters were proud that they had plenty of food and had peace and security. They didn’t help the poor and the needy. They were arrogant and did disgusting things in front of me. So I did away with them when I saw this” (16:49-50). The God of Ezekiel does not condemn Sodom and her sister Gomorrah for homosexuality. This God condemns for their pride and lack of compassion towards the poor.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were outrageously inhospitable. Instead of welcoming the messengers of God with a meal and a place to lodge for the night (as was Near-Eastern custom at the time), they sought to rape them.
When Jesus sent out the Seventy to go ahead of him announcing God’s kingdom, he had this to say about those cities: “But whenever you go into a city and people don’t welcome you, leave. Announce in its streets, ‘We are wiping your city’s dust from our feet in protest against you! But realize that the kingdom of God is near you!’ I can guarantee that judgment day will be easier for Sodom than for that city” (Luke 10:10-12).
Judgment day will be easier for the city that mistreated angels than for the city that rejects the message of God’s kingdom. Interesting, huh?
In what ways can we demonstrate the hospitality and love of God in Christ? Who among us needs to be welcomed with care and compassion? If this were a day of judgment, would you be convicted of inhospitality like Sodom and Gomorrah, or would you be called righteous like Lot?
Always be aware that the person you welcome into your home/life/community could be an angel of the Lord. Always be aware that when you refuse to welcome a person into your home/life/community, you’re potentially rejecting an angel of the Lord.
Don’t be a Sodomite.