Editorial: The Sad Saint of Sodom

Not so much depressed as angry! Not at others – but at himself! You can almost hear him speaking to himself when out of earshot of others: “How did I allow myself to get into this? I never thought it would come to this.” Prosecutor, jury, and judge all rolled into one conscience, Lot reproached himself daily with his failure. Filled with regret and remorse, daily knowing the exercise of self-flagellation, he spent his days – they must have seemed like long, long days – in Sodom. Peter tells us, “that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing (only glances) and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day” (2 Peter 2:8).

It wasn’t so much that what they were saying and doing vexed him, but that he vexed himself – for being there and exposing his righteous soul to it; for ever bringing his family into such a place.

But how did it happen? How could someone who had known the godly Abraham and moved in his company, seeing something of the life of faith and righteousness, possibly descend to Sodom-level living?

The article on Temptations by John Dennison reminds us that we can become inured to the awfulness of sin. A tragic combination of repeated exposure, self-justification, and rationalization can bring the strongest saint down to Sodom-level living.

The world in which we live offers us two choices which are remarkably depicted in articles which follow. We can view the world as a place from which souls can be delivered and assemblies strengthened as outlined in the article by David Petterson. The article, Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy, by our brother Dave Brandt, reminds us of a beloved evangelist-pastor from a past generation who lived with this vision before him. Men of this caliber viewed the world as a place to be avoided, where compromise with sin and the allurements of the world were entertained at the cost of faithfulness to the Lord Whom the world crucified and rejected.

But the world is also a place full of voices which clamor for the believer’s attention. There is the cacophonous call of religious confusion as outlined in the concluding article by Denis O’Hare. The world’s call to pleasure reminds us of its temptations. Lot hearkened to the siren call of the world. Temptations do not come packaged and labeled as such. They appear as innocent trifles, wise business choices, or expedient social steps. Yet their ultimate, unavoidable end is to rob the believer of his testimony, strength, and joy. Recovery? Possible but … It would be nice if there were a “happy ever after” ending to each story of departure. But Lot ended his days in a cave, overcome by drink, and immersed in shame. Remorse and regret did not extricate him from his downward slide. Testimony lost, family lost, joy lost – he was saved as by fire.

Sad saint or satisfied saint? The choice is ours.