Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday---The Defining Sin of Sodom


CONTINUING FROM LAST WEEK'S POST as I except from Rosaria Champagne Butterfield's book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. The author comments on what she is realizing from a passage in Ezekiel and how she sees that homosexuality was not a defining sin of Sodom but rather a secondary symptom of other sin stemming from other more serious sins:
As I live," says the Lord God, "neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit."
---Ezekiel 16:48-50

Rosaria writes that after pride and wealth that produces idleness and an entertainment driven society, there's more that God had against Sodom:

Third, we find lack of mercy ("neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy"). Refusing to be the merciful neighbor in the extreme terms exemplified by the Samaritan traveler to his cultural enemy left to die on the road to Jericho in Luke 10:25-37 leads to egregious sin. I think this was a shocking truth and I image that most Bible-believing Christian would be horrified to see this truth exposed in such bare terms!

God calls us to be merciful to others for our own good as well as for the good of our community. Our hearts will become hard to the whispers of God if we turn our backs on those who have less than we do.

Fourth, we find a lack of discretion and modesty---"they were haughty and committed abomination before Me". Pride combined with with wealth leads to idleness because you falsely feel that God just wants you to have fun---If unchecked, this sin will grow into entertainment driven lust---If unchecked this sin will grow into hardness of heart that declares other people's problems no responsibility or care of your own---If unchecked, we become bold in our sin and feel entitled to live selfish lives fueled by the twin cultural values of acquiring and achieving.

Modesty and discretion are not old-fashioned values. They are God's standards that help us to encourage one another in good works rather than covetousness.

You might notice that there is nothing inherently sexual about any of these sins:  pride, wealth, entertainment driven focus, lack of mercy, lack of modesty.  We like to think that sin is contained by categories of logic or psychology.  It's not. So why do we assume that sexual sin of all kinds has sexual or affectual origins? 

That is because we have too narrow a focus about sexuality's purview. Sexuality isn't about what we do in bed. Sexuality encompasses a whole range of needs, demands and desires.

Sexuality is more a symptom of our life's condition than a cause, more a consequence than an origin.

Importantly, we don't see God making fun of homosexuality or regarding it as different or an exotic sin.  What we see  instead is God's warning:  if you indulge the sins of pride, the preeminence of wealth, entertainment lust, lack of mercy and lack of discretion, you will find yourself deep in sin---and the type of sin may surprise you. Sin, if ignored, excused or enjoyed progresses, grows, spreads like Poison Ivy.....

-----Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert

Will plan to do more next week.  As an after-thought I remember this verse from 1 Peter:

God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble
(1 Peter 5:5).

This applies to all people---all of us--across the board.  After reading and thinking about Rosaria's above piece,  it's interesting to note that the gay community's favorite slogan is gay pride.  God's response would probably be....Exactly!....only God would be referring to pride that goes before being gay, rather than after.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)  This applies to everyone.

In God's economy, pride is the sin lurking beneath all  other sin.  All sin is predicated on pride, especially spiritual pride which is going our own way outside of  seeking God's will or obeying his Word.  However, in the fallen world, pride is evidently seen as  virtue.  I do understand that pride in the gay world is meant to overcome and neutralize shame.  However, in God's world human shame in all its myriad forms which is certainly not limited to gays, is always overcome in only One Way:  a  personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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