Thursday, January 05, 2012

Stand to Reason: What was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?

In an email message that I received from Stand to Reason (STR) today, there is a list of the The 20 Top Articles read at STR in 2011. I was curious to see what Mr. Koukl had to say in his analysis of what exactly was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Stand to Reason: What was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?

The essay does not disappoint! Mr. Koukl points out the spin that many liberal clergy persons have placed upon the account in Genesis 18:16-19:29. He meticulously points out (through the use of additional biblical texts like the book of Jude, 2 Peter, Ezekiel, and Leviticus) that the only correct conclusion about why God destroyed these cities was because of grievous sexual sin - including the sin of homosexual behavior.

In today's culture, there is rampant homosexuality and through the guise of "tolerance," and anti-bullying efforts, such a sin is often celebrated by those who think that they are being compassionate and helpful towards those who are caught up in this terrible sin. Even our military has now been subjected to the "cause" of homosexual "rights" by politicians who deemed "don't ask don't tell" as wrong and the open disclosure of those serving in the military now necessary for "fairness and non-discrimination" purposes.

However, the man-made laws of human beings NEVER TRUMP the Laws of God! We do a huge disservice to our young people when they are subjected to the forced acceptance of such behavior. Something that was considered so heinous when I was growing up was not celebrated as something to be desired and accepted. If you are a person who does not celebrate it desirable and accepted, then you are unfairly labeled as a "bigot," "hateful," "discriminatory," "ignorant," and deserve to be bashed and punished for your beliefs.   However, such  beliefs ultimately line up with God's Laws in the Bible. This is a classic example of what the Bible describes as good masquerading as evil, and evil masquerading as good.

Now, before readers get angry against me, please read Mr. Koukl's account (linked above and copied/pasted below) so that you will understand where biblically-based Christians are coming from on this issue.

I hear the objections all the time; in person (by relatives and friends who have relatives and friends who are "gay"), and on this blog whenever I post on this topic. Whether it's the "live and let live" argument, or the belief that they must be "born that way," those who do not want to condemn homosexual behavior because they love a gay person cannot seem to accept the danger that people like me see in such acceptance.

The original meaning of the word "tolerance" was that a person DISAGREES with a behavior, but allows the other person to engage in it anyway. But if you knew that such behavior leads to death, would you still be willing to tolerate it and not warn the other person of the physical, mental, emotional, and most of all SPIRITUAL damage such behavior causes? What about if you believed that not confessing and repenting of such behavior (before physical death) would lead to eternal death for the person(s) you love who are caught up in such a behavior?

Let's look at another sinful behavior. The sin of suicide. Someone close to me committed suicide almost one year ago this month. During a phone call before this happened, she told me that "suicide may be against your religion, but it isn't against mine." This person had been ranting to family members for many years, all the ways that she would consider committing suicide. None of us believed that she would follow through with it. However, we each deemed that she was having psychological problems (a mental health agency diagnosed her as delusional and paranoid at one point) so we planned an intervention for her in the month of April, 2011. She killed herself in January, 2011. Our plan to save her from herself didn't happen. It was too late. The guilt of not taking action sooner will remain with me for the rest of my life. The sadness for the loss of her will be with me for the rest of my life. Grieving family members continue to wish that they had done something sooner. I did try to witness to her about Jesus Christ several times, so there is the hope that perhaps she confessed to Christ before her death, but I can't know for sure until I reach eternity.

Can you now possibly see why allowing someone to continue in a sinful behavior that leads to eternal death without warning them in advance is a violation of The Great Commission? The secular world wants to celebrate homosexual behavior, but Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven wants us to share with them the ONLY way to heaven!

I apologize if I am rambling here, but after reading this article by Mr. Koukl, I wanted to share some thoughts of my own on this topic.

After almost six years of blogging here at this site, the topics of homosexuality, "gay" marriage, abortion, and other sexual sins always invite huge controversy.

Do you recall the year in which there was a mad search in scientific circles for a "gay" gene? Such a find might have ended the controversy over whether or not a person is "born that way" or not. During a discussion here at my blog, a gay man discussed this issue with me. I pointed out that if parents could detect a "gay" gene in their unborn child, perhaps they would likely abort the baby. I remember reading that some gay men started to agree with the pro-life issue; thinking that such a discovery might lead to continual abortions of "gay" gene babies! Of course, there is no "gay" gene. But the fact that if there WAS such a gene, gay men were worried that it would lead to a gay baby holocaust in the womb was quite telling about what is right and wrong in the abortion controversy.

Such topics will likely be controversial until the end of time. However, as a Christian Culture Warrior, I cannot, in good conscience, shy away from these or any other issues that go against the Laws of God as written in the Bible. This may very well make me unpopular in the blogosphere. So be it. I have done my duty to warn others of the eternal consequences. God is the ultimate judge of the universe. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for the sins (which we all commit) of mankind. Christ's death on the Cross of Calvary, and His subsequent Resurrection to Life is the only way that we can be saved from the punishment for our sin (which we all deserve) and be reconciled back unto God in order to spend eternity with Christ in Heaven.

Jhn 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

There is no other way by which we can be saved!

Act 4:10 "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Act 4:11 "This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' [fn]

Act 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

When we each realize that we have ALL SINNED and fall short of the glory of God, then what shall we do about it? Answer: We ALL need the Savior!

At my website, there is a page that shares how to become a Christian. At the top of the page there is a link to Living


Here is a copy of Greg Koukl's essay in it's entirety:

What was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Was the most extensive judgment found anywhere in the Bible outside of the book of Revelation actually for the sin of inhospitality, not homosexuality?
By: Gregory Koukl

People find what they want in the Bible. If one looks hard enough, he can find "biblical" support for reincarnation, Eastern religions, Jesus as a guru, divorce for any reason, and flying saucers. Every cult of Christianity uses the Bible to validate its claims and so does some of the occult.
It's not surprising, then, that a recent trend in biblical scholarship holds that a careful reading of Genesis in its historical context offers no solid basis to conclude that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had anything to do with homosexuality.
This view may seem far-fetched to biblical conservatives, but it is taken very seriously in academic circles. It represents a significant challenge to the rank-and-file Christian who finds in the Genesis account a straight-forward condemnation of homosexual behavior.
My goal is to answer that challenge. I have no interest to malign, name-call, offend, attack, bash, belittle, or in any way demean a group of people. I want to determine one thing only: Why did God destroy these two cities? Did it have anything to do with homosexuality itself? In short, what was the sin—or sins—of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Genesis 18:16-19:29
Though the context of the account in question begins in Genesis 18:16 during God's conversation with Abraham by the Oaks of Mamre, the details of the encounter at Sodom itself are found in Genesis 19:4-13:
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them." But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, "Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof."
But they said, "Stand aside." Furthermore, they said, "This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them." So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.
But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.
Then the men said to Lot, "Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it."
What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why did God destroy the two cities? The traditional view is that homosexuality was the principle offense ("Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly").
Yale historian John Boswell offers four possible reasons for the destruction of Sodom:
(1) The Sodomites were destroyed for the general wickedness which had prompted the Lord to send angels to the city to investigate in the first place; (2) the city was destroyed because the people of Sodom had tried to rape the angels; (3) the city was destroyed because the men of Sodom had tried to engage in homosexual intercourse with the angels...; (4) the city was destroyed for inhospitable treatment of visitors sent from the Lord.[1]
John Boswell thinks that explanation (2) "is the most obvious of the four," though it's been "largely ignored by biblical scholars."[2] Boswell expands on explanation (4), the one he seems to favor as most consistent with "modern scholarship" since 1955:
Lot was violating the custom of entertaining unknown guests within the city walls at night without obtaining the permission of the elders of the city. When the men of Sodom gathered around to demand that the strangers be brought out to them, "that they might know them," they meant no more than to "know" who they were, and the city was consequently destroyed not for sexual immorality, but for the sin of inhospitality to strangers.[3]
Englishman D. Sherwin Bailey also argues this way in Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (1955). The men of Sodom wanted to interrogate Lot's guests to see if they were spies. The sin of gang rape was also in view, not homosexuality. In a broader sense, the men of Sodom were inhospitable to Lot's guests.
Apparently, it did not occur to Boswell that possibilities (2) and (4) seem to be at odds. If "to know" the angels means merely to interrogate them, then there is no attempted rape, only an attempted interrogation. If, on the other hand, the men meant to have sexual relations with the visitors (the traditional view) and are guilty of attempted rape, then the interrogation explanation must be abandoned (rendering Boswell’s above summary of the views of modern scholarship somewhat incoherent).
Some of these explanations, however, are not mutually exclusive and may have been factors in their own way. For example, the general wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (1) could have included rape (2) and/or inhospitality (4).
My principle concern here is to determine if the biblical record indicates that (4) homosexuality factored in at all.

Clues from the Text
Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? We can find clues not just from the Genesis account, but also from the Prophets and the New Testament books 2 Peter and Jude. These give a sense of how ancient Jewish thinkers steeped in Jewish culture understood these texts.
First, Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of grave sin. Genesis 18:20 says, "And the Lord said, 'The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.'" Indeed, not even ten righteous people could be found in the city.
Second, it seems the judgment of these cities was to serve as a lesson to Abraham and to others that wickedness would be punished. In 2 Peter 2:6 we learn that God condemned and destroyed the cities as "an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter."
Third, peculiar qualities of the sin are described by Jude and Peter. Jude 7 depicts the activity as "gross immorality" and going after "strange flesh."[4] Peter wrote that Lot was "oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men," and "by what he saw and heard...felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds." These people were "those who indulged the flesh in its corrupt desires and despised authority" (2 Peter 2:7-10).
Fourth, there are 27 references outside of Genesis where Sodom is mentioned. It is emblematic of gross immorality, deepest depravity, and ultimate judgment.
Piecing together the biblical evidence gives us a picture of Sodom's offense. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was some kind of activity—a grave, ongoing, lawless, sensuous activity—that Lot saw and heard and that tormented him as he witnessed it day after day. It was an activity in which the inhabitants indulged the flesh in corrupt desires by going after strange flesh, ultimately bringing upon them the most extensive judgment anywhere in the Bible outside of the book of Revelation.
What do we know about the conduct of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah that fits this description?

Just a Couple of Questions
Was the city destroyed because the men of Sodom tried to rape the angels (option (2) above)? The answer is obviously no. God's judgment could not have been for the rapacious attempt itself because His decision to destroy the cities was made days before the encounter (see Genesis 18:20). Further, Peter makes it clear that the wicked activity was ongoing ("day after day"), not a one-time incident. The outcry had already been going up to God for some time.[5]
Was this a mere interrogation? Though the Hebrew word yada ("to know")[6] has a variety of nuances, it is properly translated in the NASB as "have [sexual] relations with."[7] Though the word does not always have sexual connotations, it frequently does, and this translation is most consistent with the context of Genesis 9:5. There is no evidence that what the townsmen had in mind was a harmless interview. Lot's response—“Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly"—makes it clear they had other intentions.
In addition, the same verb is used in the immediate context to describe the daughters who had not "known" a man and who were offered to the mob instead. Are we to understand Lot to be saying, "Please don't question my guests. Here, talk to my daughters, instead. They've never been interviewed"?
Did God judge Sodom and Gomorrah for inhospitality? Is it true that God's judgment was not for homosexuality per se, but because the people of the town were discourteous to the visitors, violating sacred sanctuary customs by attempting to rape them? A couple of observations raise serious doubt.
First, the suggestion itself is an odd one. To say that the men of Sodom were inhospitable because of the attempted rape is much like saying a husband who's just beaten his wife is an insensitive spouse. It may be true, but it's hardly a meaningful observation given the greater crime.
Second—and more to the textual evidence—it doesn't fit the collective biblical description of the conduct that earned God's wrath: a corrupt, lawless, sensuous activity that Lot saw and heard day after day, in which the men went after strange flesh.
Third, are we to believe that God annihilated two whole cities because they had bad manners, even granting that such manners were much more important then than now? There's no textual evidence that inhospitality was a capital crime. However, homosexuality was punishable by death in Israel (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). Does God ignore the capital crime, yet level two entire cities for a wrong that is not listed anywhere as a serious offense?

The Only One That Fits
The prevailing modern view of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is that the attempted rape of Lot's visitors violated the Mid-East's high code of hospitality (19:9). This inhospitality, however, is an inference, not a specific point made in the text itself.
Further, the inhospitality charge is dependent upon—and eclipsed by—the greater crime of rape, yet neither could be the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah because God planned to judge the cities long before either had been committed. What possibility is left? Only one.
We know the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexual, "both young and old, all the people from every quarter" (19:6), to the point of disregarding available women (19:5-8). After they were struck sightless they still persisted (19:11). These men were totally given over to an overwhelming passion that did not abate even when they were supernaturally blinded by angels.
Homosexuality fits the biblical details. It was the sin that epitomized the gross wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah—the "grave," "ungodly," "lawless," "sensual conduct of unprincipled men" that tormented Lot as he "saw and heard" it "day after day," the "corrupt desire" of those that went after "strange flesh."
In their defense, some will cite Ezekiel 16:49-50: "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me.[8] Therefore I removed them when I saw it." No mention of homosexuality here.
Clearly, the general wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah was great. That's not in question. Our concern here is whether homosexuality was part of that wickedness. Our analysis of Genesis shows that homosexuality was the principle behavior at issue in that passage. Ezekiel simply enumerates additional sins. The prophet doesn't contradict Moses, but rather gives more detail.
Stinginess and arrogance alone did not draw God's wrath. Ezekiel anchored the list of crimes with the word "abominations." This word takes us right back to homosexuality. The conduct Moses refers to in Genesis 18 he later describes in Leviticus as an "abomination" in God’s eyes.

The Mosaic Law has two explicit citations on homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female.[9] It is an abomination [toebah][10] ." Leviticus 20:13 says, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act [toebah]. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them."
John Boswell offers the standard rebuttal to what appears to be an obvious biblical prohibition of homosexuality:
The Hebrew word "toebah," here translated "abomination," does not usually signify something intrinsically evil, like rape or theft..., but something which is ritually unclean for Jews, like eating pork or engaging in intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters.[11]
Leviticus, the suggestion goes, is not where we generally go for moral instruction. The sections quoted deal with the cult of worship: sacrifice, priesthood, ritual bathing, etc. These directives have to do with ritual purity, not moral purity. An observant Jew could not worship after ritual contamination until he had been ritually cleansed.
Others have added that many details of the Mosaic Law are archaic. Who concerns themselves with mixing wool and linen together (Deuteronomy 22:11)? The death penalty itself doesn't mark homosexuality as particularly heinous. Disobedience to parents was also a capital crime, as was picking up sticks on the Sabbath, yet no one suggests these should be punishable offenses today.[12]
This rejoinder is filled with inconsistencies. First, even if this prohibition was restricted only to ritual purity and the cult of worship, then minimally it applies to Jewish clerics. Yet many who use this approach see no problem with homosexual rabbis and instead champion such "diversity" as a religious virtue. On the other hand, if the Torah's proscriptions no longer apply at all, then any distinction between the cultic and moral aspects of the Mosaic Law is moot; none of it pertains anyway.
Second, it's a serious error in thinking to conclude that if some of the Torah no longer applies, then none of it applies. Jewish thinker Dennis Prager observed, "It is one thing not to put a Torah punishment into practice and quite another to declare that a Torah sin is no longer a sin."[13] [emphasis in the original]
Third, it's true that much of the Law seems to deal with religious activity rather than universal morality. That observation in itself, however, is not enough to summarily dismiss the Torah as a source of binding moral instruction. Ritual purity and moral purity are not always distinct.
Context is king here. Note the positioning of the verses. The toebahof homosexuality is sandwiched between adultery (18:20), child sacrifice (18:21) and bestiality (18:23). Was Moses saying merely that if a priest committed adultery, had sex with an animal, or burned his child on Molech's altar he should be sure to wash up before he came to temple?
More to the point, these sections were not addressed to the priests, but to all the "sons of Israel" (18:2, 20:2). In addition to the prohibitions on adultery, child sacrifice, and bestiality just mentioned, Moses also prohibits spiritism (20:6) and incest (20:12).
The conclusion of Leviticus 18 contains these words:
But as for you [the "sons of Israel" (v. 2)], you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled. (18:26-27)
Moses spoke as clearly here as he did in Genesis. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many things, but foremost among them was the sin of homosexuality. In this section of Leviticus, God gives directives not just for ritual purity, but commands to be observed by every Jew, and even by every visitor.
Homosexuality was wrong for the Jews. It was wrong for gentiles who visited the Jews ("aliens"). It was even an abomination that defiled the land when practiced by pagans who inhabited Canaan long before the Jews came.
Homosexuality is a defiling sin, regardless who practices it. It has no place before God among any people, in any age, then or now.

[1] John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 93. [2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Some have suggested the sin was seeking sexual union with angels ("strange flesh"). Though this is a possible interpretation, there's no indication the men knew Lot's visitors were angels. Jude's point is that the Sodomites, like the angels, "did not keep to their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode" (v. 6). "Strange flesh"—the improper domain—wasn't angelic flesh, but homosexual flesh.
[5] The rejoinder that homosexual rape could still qualify as the ongoing activity fails to convince. Who would be the ongoing victims? Not the townspeople. Because of their sexual proclivity they would not likely resist homosexual advances. Visitors would have to be the target. But if newcomers were molested “day after day,” I’m sure this would put a crimp in the tourist trade. The steady supply of sexual candidates would dwindle rapidly once word got around, with most making a wide berth around the area.
[6] Strong’s #3045. [7] “Know a person carnally, of sexual subj. and obj. (of sodomy) Gn 19:5).” Brown, Driver and Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody ME: 1996), 394. See also Judges 19:22 ff.
[8] Curiously, this last sentence was overlooked in Boswell’s citation of the text.
[9] "Lie" is the Hebrew word shakab meaning “lie down” (Strong’s #7901). In this case, it refers to having sexual relations as in Genesis 19:32: "Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father" (Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1012).
[10] Strong’s #8441.
[11] Boswell, 100.
[12] It's curious that some choose to conclude homosexuality was a minor crime because it was no more offensive to God than picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Both were capital offenses. If you want to know how God really felt, look at the punishment He requires.
[13] Dennis Prager, "Homosexuality, Judaism and Gay Rabbis," The Prager Perspective, 3/1/97.

This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©2003 Gregory Koukl
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Susan Smith said...

Christine said: “In today's culture, there is rampant homosexuality and through the guise of "tolerance," and anti-bullying efforts, such a sin is often celebrated by those who think that they are being compassionate and helpful towards those who are caught up in this terrible sin.”

She also said: “However, the man-made laws of human beings NEVER TRUMP the Laws of God.”

I chose the sexual sin of homosexuality for more than 20 years of my life. The Messiah sent by the ONE God of ISRAEL delivered me and saved me from my sin. Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) comes to deliver us from our sin.

The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His NAME is called the WORD of GOD” (Revelation 19:13).

I was in bondage to a death style, and the world calls it a lifestyle. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). The Messiah did not replace my lust for the flesh of women with a lust for the flesh of men. I am FREE!

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

Thank you for receiving truth from the ONE God of ISRAEL who makes you willing to SPEAK TRUTH out loud. My prayer this day is for all of God’s chosen people to know the Truth. Enjoy the sunshine Christine. It is shining bright here on the east coast. This comes with much love to you and all your worldwide readers from the east to the west! (Susan Smith)

GMpilot said...

CJW: ”This person had been ranting to family members for many years, all the ways that she would consider committing suicide. None of us believed that she would follow through with it. However, we each deemed that she was having psychological problems (a mental health agency diagnosed her as delusional and paranoid at one point) so we planned an intervention for her...”

Perhaps I'm missing something here, but exactly how does having 'psychological problems' constitute a 'sin'? If the cause of those problems were based on, say, drug dependency, it would clearly be a source of self-destructive behavior; but you haven't said what the cause was.
You mention that she'd been talking of suicide for 'many years', yet you did nothing (“None of us believed that she would follow through with it”). The proper thing to do is not to wait when someone expresses thoughts of suicide, but to get them help at once. Always assume they mean it, especially if they mention it more than once. If her family (and you) waited many years until it was too late, I can see part of the reason why you all feel guilt.
Then again, if god has a plan for peoples' lives (as I'm so often told by evangelicals), this was his plan for your friend.

Also, by your logic, Heinrich Himmler has gone to hell. Not because he was head of the Nazi SS, and was therefore directly responsible for the murder of millions in the death camps; but because he committed suicide (poison capsule) shortly after his capture, escaping temporal justice. All those Russians, Jews and Poles whose lives he stole don't count—just his. Sure.
Nice religion you have here.

Christinewjc said...

Thank you Susan. Your testimony is proof that when a person surrenders their life to Jesus Christ, he/she can be healed from the ravages of any sin. That is the purpose in us Christians telling our testimonies - so that others can have hope in the ONE TRUE GOD of Israel and gain redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ!

Christinewjc said...


As usual, you missed the point. We will have to chalk it up to your inability to see the reason, purpose, and entirety of the message being conveyed in this post.

The individual did have drug and alcohol problems, but even on coherent days she would say such things. It had been going on for at least 10 years, but she hid her drug and alcohol problems from most people. It was only after an accident happened that friends and family figured out what was really going on.

I didn't say that her mental problems were sin. The sin was in taking her own life.

Of course we all feel guilt. Nice of you to rub in the pain. I thought twice before sharing the information here because it is so very painful. But if my report about this terrible tragedy helps another person in a similar situation to take action sooner, then perhaps it was right for me to share it. I don't think that there is a person on this earth who wouldn't feel guilt about the suicide of a loved one.

One of the reasons why several of us didn't think she would actually do it is because of an incident that happened about 3 years before her suicide. She drove about 5 1/2hours to get to a relative's house in another state. It was very evident that she needed immediate medical help, and she was given that help right away. In the condition she was in, it was a miracle that she made it. Her self-preservation at that time was very evident. Again, she didn't tell the truth about what was ailing her. She was a master at finding ailments online to disguise what was really going on in her life.

Medical confidentialities forbade us from knowing for sure that she was drug and alcohol dependent. We could only assume due to her behavior. She did all that she could to lie about it and hide it from everyone. She exhibited manic/depressive behavior (now called bi-polar) but was not being treated for this. She was in denial and refused help many, many times.

I live clear across the country, but whenever I was visiting relatives back east (about a 5 1/2 hr. drive to her place when I was there) she ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to allow me to visit her. She threatened to not let us in the door etc.

It's a very long, drawn out story that is difficult to share.

All the while, I tried to comfort, calm, and help her via phone conversations, and she had many moments where I thought that she was getting better. I even helped make a plan for her that would have been a solution to what we thought were financial woes. I was even confident that she would follow through (and other people who saw her almost every day thought she was going to follow through on the plan) this time.

You are correct. We should have done something sooner. But the plan we had for the intervention just wasn't meant to be.

It is true that the Bible says that God does not give us more than we can handle. He will always provide a way out. There were MANY PEOPLE who tried to help provide her with solutions to her problems, but she refused the help. A forced intervention is never pleasant, but we all thought that we should give it a try.

What ultimately happens in each individual life may not be what we think is correct or right, but God is sovereign over all and we need to trust Him over the finite thoughts of man.

GMpilot said...

CJW: ”As usual, you missed the point. We will have to chalk it up to your inability to see the reason, purpose, and entirety of the message being conveyed in this post.”

How did I 'miss the point'? Let me repeat what you said: ”Let's look at another sinful behavior. The sin of suicide.” (emphasis mine)
Since you said “another”, then you were already talking about sin and its consequences, weren't you?

”The individual did have drug and alcohol problems, but even on coherent days she would say such things. It had been going on for at least 10 years, but she hid her drug and alcohol problems from most people. It was only after an accident happened that friends and family figured out what was really going on.”

And when they did, how long ago was that? Eighteen months? Six years?

”Of course we all feel guilt. Nice of you to rub in the pain. I thought twice before sharing the information here because it is so very painful. But if my report about this terrible tragedy helps another person in a similar situation to take action sooner, then perhaps it was right for me to share it.”

I am not without compassion, but if you choose to discuss the subject, then you already feel the pain. You obviously feel that discussing it will help ease that pain. I'm not sneering at you, just pointing out something you already know, namely that talk of suicide is not to be gaffed off as just talk, or of making a scene, or to be casually dismissed. You said yourself that you'd had years of exposure to what she'd said, and nothing was done until it was too late.
I don't know the story now any more than you did then. You can PM me about it if you want--I won't mind. But know this: I can't possibly be any harder on you than you are on yourself. There's no need for me to 'rub in the pain'.

”You are correct. We should have done something sooner. But the plan we had for the intervention just wasn't meant to be.”

Why was that?

”...God is sovereign over all and we need to trust Him over the finite thoughts of man.”

Well, there you go.

Remind me to tell you some day about my experience with women and rape.