I was reading through Genesis 19 preparing for a class on Lot’s wife and daughters when suddenly the verse above sprang to mind. Over and over I saw things I have seen all my life and the thought came unbidden, “We are living in Sodom.”
No, I was not thinking about modern issues. None of the things that I noticed in the text that afternoon had anything to do with that, at least not specifically. In fact, the things I noticed had been happening through my entire life, even as far back as the 1960s when everyone thinks we were still innocent and relatively godly. Let’s see if you see what I did.
Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly…But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge!” Gen 19:6-9
Whenever any moral issue comes up, if you express any sort of disapproval--even if all you do is refuse to participate—suddenly you are accused of “judging.” Never mind that is exactly what is done to you by this accusation. That does not matter. It happened all those thousands of years ago and it happens now. People have not changed. If you behave differently than others, you are “judging.” No one can tolerate being seen as less than righteous, even when righteousness is the last thing on their minds.
Since it is such a universal, and timeless, reaction, maybe we should ask ourselves this: Has anyone accused me of being judgmental lately? If not, why not? Is it just that I only associate with Christians, with good moral friends and neighbors? Or is it that I have not expressed any disapproval lately, nor refused to participate, whether it be in gossip, slander, drinking, pornography, foul language, immodest dress, or any other acts a Christian needs to abhor.
Paul said: and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; Eph 5:11. We do a whole lot better with the first half of that command than the last. I think it is because we do not want even the mild persecution that comes along with it. We want to be liked—by the world. We don’t want to be accused of “judging.”
Even “righteous Lot” was accused of judging. Peter says he “was greatly distressed by the conduct of the wicked” (2 Pet 2:7). Given the rest of his life, do we really want to be viewed as less righteous than he?
Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them. Rom 1:29-32