Daily Archives: January 8, 2010

The Perils Of Righteous Indignation

“I did not have sex with that woman.”

If you were cognizant during the President Bill Clinton’s  administration, his words are etched in your memory. Americans were infuriated that their president cheated on his wife and jeopardized national security—and then lied about it on national television. And rightly so.

At the front of the protestors, Newt Gingerich chastised the president for his infidelity. But years later, Gingerich confessed that he was engaged in an extramarital affair in the midst of the Clinton probe.


Righteous indignation is a sword that swings both ways. It may help us expose someone’s flaws, but on its way back, it may expose ours.

Today, you’re going to read about a weak, pathetic man and his daughters who may share more in common with us than we’d like to admit.


Genesis 18:16-19:38
Matthew 6:25-7:14
Psalm 8:1-9
Proverbs 2:6-15


Lot made bread without yeast in Genesis 19:3 because it was evening when his guests arrived and he didn’t have time to let his bread rise before baking it.

The behavior of the men in Genesis 19:4-11 was deplorable, even among pagan nations. The New Bible Commentary explains, “No greater flouting of oriental conventions of hospitality can be imagined than to make guests submit to homosexual rape. Ancient societies often condoned homosexuality between consenting adults, but rape, especially of guests, was always regarded as wrong.”

A question about Genesis 19:30 that I’m unable to answer: Why was Lot afraid? He was a wealthy rancher with so many flocks that he had to separate from Abraham. He had the financial means to hire people who would protect him.

The Word Biblical Commentary points out the pathetic irony of Genesis 19:30-38: “The angels have rescued Lot and his virgin daughters from the Sodom mob; now they sacrifice their virginity and their father’s honor when there is no actual danger.”

THE WORD MADE FRESH (how Jesus makes it real to my life)

Lot’s story is pretty disturbing. He lives in a town that by ancient standards, makes Las Vegas look like Disneyland. He was passive, weak, and offered his virgin daughters to be raped by the men in his city so they wouldn’t touch his houseguests. If he was wealthy enough to live wherever he chose, why did he choose to live in such a deplorable place?

Unfortunately, his daughters’ fiancés lost their lives in the destruction of the city, and with a fearful, protective father, they held little or no hope for getting married and having children. So they got their father drunk and had sex with him.

I guess you can take the girl out of Sodom, but you can’t take the Sodom out of the girl!

About the time my religious ardor was adequately worked up over the story, I moved to our New Testament reading. Jesus said not to worry about what I’ll eat, or my body, or what clothes I’ll wear. In other words, don’t get so worked up about my life.

Then Jesus throws cold water on my fervor with these words:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

–Matthew 6:31-32 (emphasis added)

Oops! To quote the great philosopher Alfred E. Neuman: “What, me worry?”

Yes, I worry about these things. I worry about finances, getting out of debt, being a better husband and father, getting a young church on its feet. And this places me on level ground with pagans and Lot’s daughters. That’s a way to knock me off my religious high horse! I guess there’s a little more pagan in me than I’d like to admit.

Jesus then follows these oft-quoted words with some balm for my wounds (from falling off my horse): “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

I don’t need to worry because God has it covered. In fact, he wants me to forget about me and focus on him.

Finally, lest you think I want to leave you sprawled on the ground, read Psalm 8 from today’s reading. This is how God sees us.

Isn’t it amazing how our readings seems to work together?


  1. Describe a time when you fell off your religious high horse.
  2. Why do you worry?
  3. What does today’s reading—especially the portion in Matthew—tell you about God?

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