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Living in Sodom

“I guess that’s my lot in life.” 

We’ve all heard that conciliatory remark. It’s the kind of thing you say when you accept the fact that your circumstances are less than ideal. While scholars seem to disagree about the source of the idiom, “lot in life” the phrase definitely reminds you of the Lot in the book of Genesis.

The story of Lot provides a very important lesson. Sometimes you make a choice that results in you living in the wrong place. 

Parallel Abraham & Lot’s lives and you’ll see that after these two friends families broke up Lots family went from being highly successful to just barely surviving the judgement of God in Genesis 19. He went north into calamity and Abraham went south into an everlasting covenant with God. Dramatic right? 

Sometimes you find yourself living in Sodom

As I reflect on that story I can’t help but recall a time when I lead my family into Sodom, I mean Oroville, CA. I graduated from college with a strong desire to leave Chicago and find a place to invest a lifetime. We found that place in Oroville. A small northern California city in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s which had one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, lowest high school graduation rates, and highest meth usage rates in the state.

We met good people to work with. We got started with a good church. And we even found a little house to live in that would be a solid place to start.

But it was Sodom. It’s not that the place was bad. It’s not that the people at the church were evil. (Well, not especially evil!) And it’s not that our work was unimportant.

But it was that we were in the wrong place. It was clear. It was obvious. The attacks came from all sides. It was like bathing in sulphur.

No matter how hard we tried to convince ourselves that we could thrive, we couldn’t. It wasn’t going to be possible because this was Sodom for us. We tried to make the best of it but each day we were there got progressively worse. It’s hard to explain what’s it’s like to be in that space. But it was bad and you could feel it getting worse and worse.

There’s only one thing to do when you live in Sodom

It’s either get out or wait for destruction. Those are your choices.

If you find yourself in Sodom right now, make a move. It’s not going to get better. Get out like your life depends on it.

Now. NOW. NOW.

How do you know you are living in Sodom? You’ll know. And if you are trying to convince yourself that you don’t… ask some friends who have known you a long time. A true friend will tell you the bold truth.


3 Responses to Living in Sodom

  1. Terry Ramone Smith July 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I have multiple problems with this post…. Sodom’s sin was not the teen pregnancy or the lack of education…. It’s sin, according to Ezekiel, was the lack of generosity to the poor. I am Sodom when I hoard my wealth. I am Sodom when I buy a $50 meal for my wife and I but refuse to spare 5$ for the local homeless guy. I am Sodom and am bound for destruction but for the grace of God. A city’s crime rate is not a means to compare it to Sodom.

    • Adam McLane July 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      I’ll pushback on your pushback a bit, please don’t take offense as I’m seeking clarification.

      What part of this post made you think this was some sort of literal interpretation?

      The whole point of this post hangs on this phrase, “The story of Lot provides a very important lesson. Sometimes you make a choice that results in you living in the wrong place. ”

      Abraham and Lot parted company because each of their flocks had grown so large and their people were having a hard time working together. (Genesis 11, I think) Lot was given the choice, go north or south. He went north and Abraham went south. It was that choice that eventually landed him in trouble, living in Sodom.

      Therefore, that choice… that wrong choice… put him into a place that required he leave to live.

      That’s what the post is about. There are some people in ministry/life/job situations that are so toxic that they will be destroyed if they stay. It’s not that the place itself if bad, it’s not that there is no good to be had there. It’s that they are physically living in a place that is the wrong place for them. And the only way out is not to long suffer through it in vain hopes that it’ll one day be OK. It’s to punt. Pack up and get the heck out.

      It’s an illustration… not an interpretation, but a biblical principle.

      Does that help?

  2. retiredday March 19, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    I see this post is a few years old, so I am a Johnny-come-lately. But I would like to say two things. First of all, our entire nation is becoming Sodom. When the process is completed (some say it already has) where can we escape to? Surely God’s judgment and destruction will be at hand. We best be right with God.

    Secondly, your blog title features the goal of changing the world. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to change the world. In fact, that’s God’s job which he will do at the end, in his own time. See Revelation 21:5. We are called to preach the gospel for the purpose of making disciples and to serve others in love — neither of which are designed to change the world, but rather to change ourselves and show God’s love to the world. No matter how many people come to Christ, the world will remain in it’s sinful state until God changes it.

    In the meantime, we are only deluding ourselves to think we can change the world. It’s the wrong kind of goal. It focuses on things beyond us, outside our purview, when we should be focused on obeying God, who wants to change us, starting on the inside, so that we can show his love to a hurting world.

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