“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. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen”
— EZEKIEL 16:49–50
As I grew up in the Church, I was always taught that the wrath of God on Sodom and Gomorrah was exclusively because of their sexual sins. Ezekiel 16:49–50 reveals that these immoralities were essentially the outworking of foundational or inner sins that, if honest, most people would admit they struggle with.
This passage identifies inner sins that foster the overt sins:
• Apathy towards the poor
When these sins prevail and dominate our lives, the result is a self-centered, self-gratifying lifestyle that creates a loss of compassion, a lost sense of value for individual people. When arrogance, self-indulgence and apathy towards others dominates, we care primarily about satisfying our own cravings and wants. The sexual sins of Sodom were symptoms of these root issues.
Misuse of power, arrogance, over-indulgence, indifference—we are all so prone to fall into the trap of these sins. Could this be why the call to SERVE others—to be mission-focused—is such a strong theme throughout Scripture? When we serve those less fortunate than we are, engage with the vulnerable who suffer injustices or commit to sharing the message of Christ with people who have never heard it, we conquer the temptation to succumb to these sins.
As we serve, humility is cultivated to combat our arrogance and, instead of self-indulgence, generosity grows in us. Living in a posture of being others-centred increases our sensitivity
and wards off indifference!
May Jesus’ example of serving and the Spirit’s presence in us nurture these traits in our lives and in our churches! As we strive to be mission-focused both corporately and individually, we will triumph over the human tendency to foster these inner sins.
FURTHER SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: PHILIPPIANS 2:1–8
1. What behaviours in my life reflect arrogance, self-indulgence or indifference?
2. Ask Jesus to reveal how you can be more intentional about being generous and sensitive to the needs of others.
Joanne Beach serves the C&MA as the Director of Justice and Compassion.