The Slacktivist had another great post a while back that made me think about my own life and desire for people who don’t know Christ.
His post concerned the story of Abraham begging God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there were even a few righteous people living there. Anyone who’s read the story knows how that turns out. The angels go to Sodom, where they’re threatened with rape. The heavenly messengers then got Lot and his family out of the city before the divine wrath overtook it, forever etching its name into history as a place of extreme depravity.
Fred Clark pointed out that, as the righteous man, Abraham prayed for Sodom:
You’ll often hear Sodom invoked as the infinitely adaptable exemplar of whatever wickedness the speaker wants to condemn. … But for all those invocations of and allusions to Genesis 19, you’ll almost never hear any similar references to Genesis 18. You’ll almost never hear a speaker referring to some contemporary “Sodom” in the way Abraham does — pleading on its behalf, serving as its righteous advocate and defender.”
I think Clark’s point is dead on. I think I’m glad that it was Abraham and not me who was pleading before God that day, as I’m not sure I would’ve been graceful enough to ask God to spare a city that so obviously deserved its fate.
That’s something I’ve got to work on, because Jesus himself refused this attitude. He did not curse his enemies. When James and John asked permission to burn a Samaritan town to the ground with fire from heaven, because that town had refused to show hospitality to Jesus and his disciples, the Lord rebuked their attitude and said that He had come to bring life, not death.
This is the same Lord who brought us life through his own death, the same Lord who stands ready to forgive each and every one of our trespasses.
I don’t have the mercy of Christ; on my best day, I might, might, be able to muster in myself the righteousness of Abraham.
So my prayer for today–and maybe yours as well?–is for a heart that is firm enough to resist evil but soft enough to love those who practice it, no matter how awful they might be.