Once, when I was studying to enter into the ministry, the instructor was teaching us about the importance of the integrity of our lifestyle and how the way that we live before those around us is a powerful testimony for the Lord. He told the story of how, as a young man, he worked at a major clothing store while he himself studied for the ministry. He worked with a couple of other young men with whom he became friends. He said that he had never really mentioned anything to them about studying for the ministry or even about his relationship with Christ.
One day, as they sat around on their lunch break, they began discussing a very controversial topic. The other two men weighed in at great lengths about their own opinions concerning it and, when they were finished, they looked at my instructor and asked, “Well, what do you think about it?” He said, “Well, of course as a Christian, I believe what the Bible teaches about it and so I believe that…” He then went on for several minutes discussing why he believed this and referenced Bible verses to back up what he said. What was the response of his two friends? They were dumb-founded and finally said, “You’re a Christian?” He said that those words dug deeper than just about any ever said to him.
The reason that these words of shock and amazement hurt so badly was the fact that he had worked with and socialized apart from work with these two guys for almost two years. Their startled question was a piercing conviction that, not only had he failed to mention anything whatsoever about his precious Lord and Savior to them, his behavior and previous conversations with them had done absolutely nothing to distinguish him from themselves. He looked and sounded just like they did!
Some Bible translations and commentaries interpret the language of Genesis 19:9 as indicating that the men of Sodom were accusing Lot of continuously acting as their judge. In other words, Here we go again, old Lot is preaching at us about his God and his morals like he always does! But looking at the overall response that he receives, I think that this was a first-time rebuke that he gives the members of his adopted community. He had lived among them long enough to work his way up to a position of leadership in the city (as we looked at last time), and as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 2:7-8, Lot was tormented in his own soul daily by their wicked deeds. But it seems here that this is the first time he has spoken out about it and verbalized his protest. Finally, after all this time he speaks up for what is right. And what do the men of Sodom say? “Who made you our judge?!?”
The people of Sodom saw Lot as no different from any of them. His testimony for the Lord had never come to light and any chance for him to have a witness there had been blown long ago. When he comes to his sons-in law and warns them to flee the coming judgment of God, they think that he is joking (Genesis 19:14)! Lot learned the same thing that my instructor learned: you cannot live like the rest of the world and then suddenly decide that you are going to make a stand for God. You will not be taken seriously, to say the least. We will deal worse with you than with them!, the men of Sodom tell Lot. Thus is the world’s contempt for the hypocrite.