Genesis 19:9 “… Furthermore, they said, ‘This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.'”
The New Testament tells us that Lot was a righteous man who was tormented by the evil he saw in Sodom (2 Peter 2:7-8). But reading the account in Genesis also shows us that righteous Lot was seriously compromised by his time in Sodom.
We infer that Lot was a leader in Sodom because he was sitting in the gate (Genesis 19:1) and was apparently fairly prominent. His time in Sodom had seriously corrupted him and his whole family. He offered his own daughters to the mob outside his house to “do to them whatever you like”. (Genesis 19:8) He betrothed his own daughters to wicked men of Sodom, who refused to leave (Genesis 19:14). Lot and his family were reluctant to leave Sodom and the angels had to drag them out (Genesis 19:16). Even then, Lot would only flee as far as Zoar (Genesis 19:17-22). Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). His own daughters committed incest with him (Genesis 19:32), and Lot allowed himself to become so drunk that he didn’t even know it (Genesis 19:33).
But despite Lot’s compromise, and his level of prominence in Sodom, what did the men of Sodom say? “Just who do you think you are, Mr. Holier-Than-Thou? What a self-righteous sanctimonious jerk! How judgmental!”
I brought this up in last night’s Bible study when we were talking about how to relate to lost people we know. One of the questions was what you would do if your lost friend confided in you that s/he was in one of many dark and evil
lifestyle choices sins. We all expressed how you’d have to handle it delicately, because on the one hand you don’t want to convey even a little bit that you condone their sin – and you wouldn’t be much of a friend if you basically lied to them and pretended it wasn’t a big deal. But on the other hand, you don’t want to “run them off” by sounding sanctimonious or being too harsh.
It does not matter how much you try to engage and relate to people. You can even compromise for miles and miles. Lot didn’t even say “Look, you are all going to hell.” All he did was refuse to cooperate in their sinful plans. Just like Lot, at some point you are going to have to take at least a minimal stand for righteousness. And, like the men of Sodom did, you’re going to be criticized for it and denounced as a sanctimonious self-righteous judgmental bigot. It’s a catch-22.
Of course, this isn’t an excuse for actually _being_ self-righteous and sanctimonious. Nobody benefits from that, and it’s an ungodly attitude. But this example should tell us first not to be discouraged and frustrated when it happens, and secondly not to compromise in order to prevent it, because that’s not going to work either. If you’re going to _ever_ take any sort of stand for right and wrong, somebody is going to call you self-righteous and judgmental for it. We should be as kind and gentle as we can without compromising or condoning sin, but we should also realize that sometimes people are going to react badly.