I talk a lot about not getting offended, but is it ever good to be offended?
The answer hit me square in the face one morning last week… and I haven’t been able to simply set it down and walk away.
Part of our family’s breakfast routine includes my husband, Tim, playing a chapter from the Bible on his phone. After the chapter is read, each person talks about what stood out to them. It’s a simple routine but one that has garnered many interesting conversations through the years.
This particular morning, we were listening to the story of Lot. It’s found in the Old Testament book of Genesis - chapter 19.
Now, if you’re familiar with this story, you know that it makes for some awkward side glances among any teenagers sitting around the table. And on this day, even I was cringing, wishing I could wash the dishes for a while… while wearing headphones…and singing loudly.
There’s no two ways about it. The story is just plain weird.
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were about to be destroyed by God because of the abundance of immorality and an unwillingness to clean up their act. Lot is the only believer in the city and the chapter begins with two angels arriving at Lot’s house. Now picture hosting two angels as overnight guests… that thought alone is intimidating - but imagine what happens next!
There’s a knock at the door. Outside is a group of men shouting for Lot to send his visitors out so they can… um… have their way with them.
My kids looked up while pouring their cereal and I was more convinced than ever that the pile of dishes in the sink was calling my name..
“Yes. You heard that right. Do you need the milk?”
The story continued.
Lot says, “no…you can’t take my guests.. but you can have my virgin daughters..”
Now I’m wanting to change the laundry, mow the yard, wallpaper the family room and maybe even clean the gutters. And throw something. What kind of father…?
“More cereal anyone?”
The story intensifies with the men attempting to break into the house but the angels intervened and struck them with blindness. The next morning, the angels tell Lot to gather his family and run far away to the mountains.
And here is where my jaw literally drops ev. er. y time.
After the terror of the night before… the horror… the fear… the danger.. with the memory of men breaking down his door wanting to rape both his guests and daughters still fresh in his memory, Lot begs to be allowed to simply take his family to a nearby village.
Is he out of his mind? The mother instinct in me bristles at the thought! What parent would want to stay close to such.. such.. such filth?!?
The angels finally agree and Lot and his family are soon on their way.
It’s all there - you can read the story.. You’ll see how in the end, Lot loses his wife and ends up so drunk he impregnates his daughters. They both have sons by their father who go on to father nations who would become two of Israel’s greatest enemies - the Ammonites and Moabites.
Crazy story, right? I mean, I’ve had some crazy houseguests, but that one takes the cake.
Human tendency is to shake our heads with shock at Lot’s choices, knowing we would never make such foolish decisions. But think about it - what might have happened if Lot had been so offended by the immorality around him that he would willingly do anything -anything- God asked him to do?
Like Lot, parents today are raising their kids in an immoral society. Filth knocks at the door of our homes on a daily basis and too often rather than slamming the door and barring it shut, we bargain with it. Even to the point of offering up our children as a sacrifice.
“Mom, can I watch this movie?”
“Can I get this game?”
The music, the movies, the games, the websites, the friendships, the phones… it’s all there. All knocking at our doors, begging to be allowed access.
Not every one of these is bad - but as guardians of the door, it. is. our. job. to. know. We cannot afford to haggle with sin. We cannot lose our ability, courage and willingness to say ‘yes’ when we need to say yes, and ‘no’ when we need to say no.
The longer Lot allowed the immorality to creep closer to his home, the less he was offended by it. So much so that he finds himself begging angels to allow him to keep his family near its epicenter - even as he watched the fires of destruction fall from heaven destroying the lives of his community.
It’s dramatic, yes. Shocking, even. But maybe it needs to shock us a little to get us to take a moment to consider what areas of sin do we cater to in our own lives. And how will it affect our children? And their children? And their children’s children?
Today’s apathy is a breeding ground for tomorrow’s regret.
We are surrounded by offense. It’s everywhere and it’s easy to take on offenses on a daily basis. But if you want to be offended about something, ask God to offend your heart with the things that offend His.
And then do something about it.