SISTER SODOM

Sodom is always associated with wicked “men” But here God calls her as “Sister Sodom!” “Now, this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit” (Ezek 16:49,50). I believe God has a message for us, women, here. He points His finger towards some of our besetting sins. The sins we are indulging in are so deceitful that many times we don’t feel the sting of our conscience. Let’s take a look at each of them.

1. Pride

Wherever the Bible speaks good of women, it couples them with a meek and quiet spirit, submission, silence and the like. whenever we cross over the boundary Scripture has marked for us, we stain ourselves with this sin. Remember Lot’s wife? She knew about the wickedness of the men of Sodom as against her husband’s righteousness, how her daughters were at stake, saw God’s power of protection - yet she failed in accepting the leadership of Lot. “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen 19:26).

Lot’s wife and daughters had well learnt the ways of Sodom. Had she been with her aunt Sarah, who “obeyed Abraham, calling him lord,” she would have faired better (1 Pet 3:6). The Bible quotes Sarah as an example of “holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands” (1 Pet 3:5).

Women need the umbrella of men—the married women their husbands and unmarried their parents. In a crisis like the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s wife should have gone in front of Lot, between his protecting arms. But she lagged behind so that she could turn back and look behind, without his knowledge. Disobedient to God and her man she became savourless salt on that ill-fated flight. And what woe, even her husband or children could not turn back to pay their homage!

Many times we despise our husbands/parents in our hearts and are filled with negative thoughts. We fail to accept their leadership happily. When they correct us on some small aspect, we react violently. We do things secretly without their knowledge. A proud thought often sneaks in and whispers: “Can I not live without him?” or, “I’ll be happier in a hostel.” The Women’s Lib has swung women to one end of the pendulum. It claims a pedestal for women. On the other hand, often we resent being women or driven to suicide. Both are shades of pride. We should learn to keep ourselves where the Scripture places us. That is where we find fulfilment and satisfaction in life. Be a submissive wife or daughter. Help your husband to be the head of the home by your cooperation. Never be responsible for his cooling down in spiritual fervour. Ask yourself this question: In case of my husband’s/parent’s death will I have to regret my behaviour towards them?

2. Fullness of Food

Why is a blessing counted as a sin here? No blessing may be misused. We must enjoy them the proper way. Fullness of food, in other words, the availability of varieties of food at home, should never lead us to indulgence. Since we “live” in the kitchen and spend more time inside the house than outside, we tend to eat irregularly and that often exceeds the limits. Another fate of women is to eat the left-overs. So we have developed the habit of throwing away any waste inside us rather than giving to, say, a beggar or someone in hunger. Remind yourself that you are not the waste basket!

Overweight is a great concern for women. Sometimes it is familial and at other times it is medical. But if overweight is  due to overeating, then our appetite must be brought under check. Neither should we stuff our children with unwanted calories. God has disciplined me in the area of food, though I was like an ox not muzzled. I never thought of praying for my overweight. When one day the thought struck me and I honestly and sincerely started to pray about it, listen to God and cooperate, he offered me divine assistance. He helped me to see overeating as sin and I started confessing every time I overate. He helped me love fruits and vegetables more than sweets and savouries. He taught me to say ‘no’ to a second helping. Every time I went to the ruler’s dinner, I went with the knife in my throat; but the moment I saw the mouth watering dishes I put the knife back into my hand bag (Prov 23:1,2). Then came the host problem. God helped me to “offend” my compelling hosts! I accepted it as a spiritual exercise and continued the battle. Luke 21:34 has warned me to be careful at every meal: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at anytime your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting...so that the day come upon you unawares.”

Gluttony is a sin which believers encourage believers to commit, which we pray and commit, which is not dreaded as a sin. It is an open sin we do not feel guilty about. It is a slow suicide embraced by Christians. God wants to free us from overeating as much as from any other sin.

Overweight is only the tip of the iceberg. Internally you are injuring your heart, blood vessels, joints, your entire system and your psychology too. Do not be bogged down in a quagmire of hopelessness. Slow and steady discipline (not crash diet) wins the race. Don’t look at your figure and lose hope. Here are a few tips:

Weigh yourself at least once a week regularly. Lose one kg at a time and learn to maintain it. Then start with the next. Have a nutritious meal than junk food. Never eat till you become uncomfortable. Don’t eat when you are not hungry. Learn to enjoy fruits and vegetables.

3. Abundance of Idleness

Overeating leads to lethargy. The housewife’s job is a fulltime job. But when we slip into laziness we neglect certain duties like dusting, cleaning and scrubbing, giving way to idle talk or hours before the TV. A wise woman never wastes her energy.

Rally your will and body against laziness. Learn to love your housework. Put novelty into it. Develop a quest for briskness, quicken your pace so you can clean one more shelf today. The lazy, careless, disorganised person is a loser. Never shun hard work you are capable of. Sweating can be eased by a cold shower. If you are unable to sleep in the night don’t be rolling in bed. It is probably God telling you to get up and pray or read your Bible! Involve yourself in some outreach activity, at least once a week. Housework or any job given to you must be done with utmost sincerity to the best of your ability. Learn to improve and persevere. “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men” (Prov 22:29). Don’t give excuses for not doing a job or leaving it half done. Put your heart, soul and mind into any work you do. Do it with precision and accuracy.

The modern world is gadget addicted. We want someone to do the job for us. Soon we’ll discover computers to operate computers. We would rather take an auto than walk a mile. One reason for lack of sleep is lack of physical activities. There must be a healthy balance between mental and physical work. Those whose work is physical must relax and rest in their free time. Those whose work is sedentary must take a long walk or play an outdoor game. Regular physical exercises keep the temple of the Holy Spirit trim. Even small activities add to your daily exercises and improve blood circulation. When housewives are lazy and do not cook nutritious meals, keep the house clean and tend the children, poverty comes in the form of medical bills (Prov 6:9-11).

4. Neglect of the Poor and Needy

When we become idle, naturally we forget the need of others. My first lessons on caring for the poor and needy were learnt first from my dad and then from the Bible. Memory is still green how one day he stopped the car to pick up five accident victims, and packed them in the back seat. He huddled us all four children with mummy in the front seat. We waited patiently in the car till he had them admitted in the hospital and arranged for their care. He would hurry to a nearby shop to buy a cloth and cover a mad naked fellow on the street. He would come to the rescue of a battered child. He would pray in the family prayer for a child whose eye he was to remove  the next day and carry toys for him. As children we sat with our parents and wrapped gift parcels and took them to Orphanages, Blind Schools, Deaf and Dumb Homes, Destitute Homes, Leprosaria, Old Peoples’ Homes and Prisons. He habitually set apart a portion of his income for the poor.

The Bible has too many references to quote. Make a study of them. Visit the slum nearest to your home and do what you can. Why should there be hundred lights in one church? Let your light shine in a place of darkness. Develop a heart for the mentally retarded. When you see a dead body, arrange for its burial. Invite a few poor when there is a festival dinner. Have the compassion to sit and talk and listen to the poor. Speak to them with respect in your tone. Very many times we see them as soul-less creatures. May God give us a second touch that we may see them as men and not as trees!

5. Idolatry

One thing God repeatedly and vehemently calls as abomination is idolatry. He has warned us not to learn the practices of the non-Christian people among whom we live. Read Dt 18:9-14. We Indian Christians have a rich heritage of paganism. We have left paganism but paganism still has its tentacles on us. God’s Word goes to the extent of commanding His children “not to make mention of the names of other gods” (Ex 23:13). Lets crusade till we eliminate the last vestiges of heathenism in us. Let there be found nothing in us that God could call abomination. Let’s not hesitate to offend our old-time mother or grandmother or great grandfather for breaking up an age-old family (heathen) custom. Ayudha Pooja was conducted in our home as an annual  feature in a very grand scale because the workers demanded it. We were doing it as Christians. But when we grew in the knowledge of Christ we put and end to it.I know some of my relatives who vow to Velankanni. Worshiping Mary or doing obeisance to the so-called picture of Christ, kissing idols or keeping candles for them are all idolatry.

Some Christians have idols in their homes as antics or art pieces. They say it is a gift of a loved one and so they keep it. I have seen Christians who tie talisman around their child’s neck or strings around the hip or wrist to ward off evil. Some  wear rings with idols engraved. It is a common practice among  Christians to take their children to the mosque for healing. There are Christians who rush for the newspaper or a magazine to see their star luck. Some follow astrology. Some go to palmists to see their future or to diviners before putting up a building. We receive Christian wedding invitations, five or six on a single day and we find that it an “auspicious” day! Even in Christian homes, in a wedding, Aarathi is done and the bride is asked to step in with her right foot first. Widows are considered as a curse on such occasions. (Dt 18:10-14).

Beware, nowadays Ouija boards and demonic games have become common practice. Keep yourself off any occult practice or places of demon worship. Avoid reading books on magic. Do not allow your children to sing songs of idol worship or dance to them. Some believe in the evil eye or bad omen. How many daughters-in-law are ill-treated by believing mothers-in-law for barrenness or for having only girl children. In some homes girls are given a second class treatment. Untouchability and superstitions are part of heathenism.

Christians watch Ramayana and Mahabaratha on Sunday morning. Can Christians backslide any further? May God save us and not spew us out of His mouth!

Pride, gluttony, idleness, hard-heartedness and idolatry are sins we have swept under the carpet. They have become a comfortable part of our life. Trouble rings no warning bells. Dear Sister Sodom, clean yourself  before it is too late!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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