The Meaning of the Sodom Story

In one of the story of Genesis we read that God decided to destroy the sinful city of Sodom. The important point was not that Sodom was destroyed, but in understanding why it happened. Traditionally this has been interpreted as God’s displeasure on gay people. But a simple reading of the Scripture can easily show what a lazy and misleading interpretation this was!

“As surely as I am the living God,” the Sovereign Lord says, “your sister Sodom and her villages never did the evil that you and your villages have done. She and her daughters were proud because they had plenty to eat and lived in peace and quiet, but they did not take care of the poor and the underprivileged. They were proud and stubborn and did the things that I hate, so I destroyed them, as you well know. Ezekiel 16:48-50 (GNB)

This passage provided a context to the story of Sodom, which was about an attack on helpless strangers with capricious and cruel manners, which had nothing to do with loving same sax relationships. Sodom’s town people instead of helping these strangers, decided to participate in the commotions. This was in keeping with their practice of arrogance, mistreatment of the poor and needy people that we read in Ezekiel. It was the actions of the town people that sealed Sodom’s fate. God did not judge a town by the actions of a few bullies, but it was the unconcern of general people at large that defined the character of Sodom.

If Sodom was about mistreatment of the poor, the needy, and strangers, then we can see similar issues happening daily in our cities. When we mistreat the strangers among us then we should all be concerned, because we have strayed far from loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Dear Father, help us understand the meaning of these difficult Scripture passages; let us not fall into hating people who are different than us. Instill love in our heart so we will hear the cries of the people in need, not like the unconcerned people of Sodom. We pray for that day when all discouraged and doubting people can receive the caring they need from God’s people. Fill our repenting hearts with your healing Holy Spirit, that we pray humbly in your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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