When God paid His visit to Sodom and Gomorrah, these twin cities controlled a lush, fertile valley through which ran the Jordan River. These two population centres were the economic hub for everyone living at the southern end of this valley, and their wealth probably contributed to the beauty of their architecture and art. Still, their immorality had become notorious, even among pagan, idol-worshipping communities outside the valley. A thin veneer of beauty shielded the uninformed eye from the cities’ true natures.
In the ancient Near East, the gate served as a city hall. Elders gathered there to debate issues, conduct business deals, resolve disputes, and even advise the city ruler on civil matters. Early readers of this text would have raised their eyebrows to discover that Lot was sitting at the city gate. This minor detail revealed that he was no ordinary resident; he had become an active participant in the politics and commerce of Sodom.
So why did Lot align himself so closely with an evil city? He probably convinced himself that he could avoid falling into gross sin while maintaining a positive testimony for Abraham’s God. What he didn’t realize, however, was that over time, he grew desensitized to the evil there.
We can’t avoid casual association with evil people, and we should be friendly with everyone, but cultivating close friendships with immoral people is dangerous to our spiritual health. Again, this doesn’t mean that believers should avoid contact with people of other religions or philosophies. If, however, these individuals maintain an evil lifestyle, it’s only a matter of time before their troubles become our troubles.
Immorality is poisonous. You can never become immune to its deadly potency. It’s like sewage spewing from a cesspool; it contaminates everything close by.
Think about the people with whom you have aligned yourself closely. In what ways are you influencing them? In what ways are they influencing you?
Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? —2 Corinthians 6:14
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Faith for the Journey: Daily Meditations on Courageous Trust in God (Tyndale House Publishers, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.