But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.
Anyone watching the news over the past few days is probably aware of the venom being spewed in the news media against former Fox News anchorman Brit Hume. Hume, as you may recall, dared to suggest that Tiger Woods, a man whose family life and public persona is crumbling around him, could find forgiveness and restoration in the Christian faith. Hume’s comments have been met with all sorts of nasty rebuttals, many of which accuse the former news man of idiocy, ignorance, cruelty, or—the worst sin of all in America—judgmentalism.
Undoubtedly, Hume knew that his remarks were likely to earn him the harsh criticism of those who are now dragging his name through the mud. Any faithful believer knows that Jesus has promised his followers that they too will be hated by the world that hated the Savior (cf. John 15:20-ff). I, personally, applaud Hume for being honest enough to share his faith in a public forum all the while knowing that he would receive a verbal beating from the anti-Christian, politically correct media.
You know, it ought not surprise any Christian that any remark that we make suggesting that someone do what is right is met with an accusation of us being judgmental. As one of my former seminary professors was fond of saying, “Years ago, the most popular Bible verse in America was John 3:16. Today, the most popular Bible verse is Matthew 7:1 ‘Judge not. . .‘” Strange, isn’t it, that the world can call Christians all sorts of derisive names and falsely represent believers in all sorts of unfair ways while still calling Christians judgmental any time one of us dares to suggest that abortion is wrong, that marriage ought be between 1 man and 1 woman for life, or that those who do not know Jesus need his grace.
Well, before you find this all sad and start feeling sorry for yourself as a persecuted believer in a dark generation, let me remind you that the cry, “Don’t judge me,” is older than you might think. Scholars date the time of the patriarchs (Abraham and his family) to sometime around 2200 BC. Thus, the events that the Bible records for us in Genesis 19 occur somewhere around four millennia ago.
Sometime around four thousand years ago, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, went to live in the city of Sodom. When God sent angels in human appearance to Sodom, Lot offered them a place to stay for the night. Then things get ugly, really ugly. The evil men of that town surround Lot’s home and demand that he bring the newcomers out to them so that they can sexually violate them. These men intended to commit homosexual rape.
When Lot told them that such a deed ought not be done to men who have come to his home and placed themselves under his care, the men of Sodom reply by saying to one another, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Don’t miss that reaction from the men of Sodom. They say that Lot is judging them, and this makes them angry enough to want to mistreat Lot even more than what they had planned for the strangers that Lot had taken in. And let’s not forget, these men knew very well what they were planning to do with those men in the house. They simply believed that Lot had no right to say that their plans to brutalize and violate those men was wrong.
All over the world, there is an outcry against any perceived judgmentalism. To be thought of as judgmental is one of the most inexcusable sins of American culture. But do not let this discourage you. The outcry against judgmentalism is as old as the story of Sodom (or one might even argue as old as the story of Cane and Able). For thousands of years, those who have sinned against God have also attacked anyone who would dare tell them that their sin is wrong, even if in the telling, the evangelists offered grace, mercy, and hope.
So, Christians, here is the deal: We can try to be thought of by the world as always nice and never judging, and in doing so, we will relinquish any claim to the word of God. Or we can tell the truth, even though it sometimes earns us the kind of scorn that followers of God have felt for thousands of years. While the temptation might be to be silent in this life and to choose comfort, Jesus would remind us that the blessing of God is there for his faithful and persecuted followers.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Of course I’m not calling anyone to go out there and be a jerk to people. If you are persecuted for just plain being mean to people, you will have no reward from God for your persecution. But, if you can carry yourself with love, class, kindness, and dignity while being honest, you will still be looked down upon and ridiculed for your faith; but in that case, there will be a great reward for you that is worth far more than the discomfort of the world’s disapproval.