“This fellow is a foreigner and he wants to play the judge!” (Genesis 19: 9). That’s how the men of Sodom scorn Lot. What does that say about me?
In Genesis 19:1-38 we have episodes that may be quite shocking, to say the least. Firstly, two angels, men, arrive in Sodom with the mission to destroy the city. Men of Sodom attempt to forcibly have sexual intercourse with them but Lot, their host, tries to protect them. The solution of appeasement that he proposes is unbelievably sickening: “I beg you, my brothers, don’t do such a wicked thing. I have two daughters who are still virgins; let me bring them out to you; you may do with them as you please, but don’t do anything to these men, for they have come to shelter under my roof” (Gn 19:7-8).
And later after Sodom is completely destroyed, and there are no other men around, two daughters make their father, Lot, drunk so as to conceive by him without his knowledge.
However, in this reflection I focus on the response of the men Sodom to Lot: “This fellow is a foreigner and he wants to play the judge!” (Genesis 19: 9).
Who are you to tell me what to do? It’s none of your business! How many times do we hear such phrases? In fact, how many times do we, ourselves, respond like that when someone wants to advise us? It’s a reaction against a voice that we esteem as foreigner, invading our inner circle.
Water tight inner circle
We may find ourselves in a group so tight that a foreigner has no way of penetrating. Often members may be living in a spirit of extraordinary solidarity –indeed something admirable. However, solidarity alone isn’t enough; it’s equally important to know what this solidarity is about? Besides, does inner circle solidarity necessarily mean no access for a foreigner? Such foreigner may be a new person, a new idea or an advice from outside. In short, this foreigner is the possibility for the group to question itself on what it does and its manner of doing things.
Besides, the inner circle may not necessarily be a group; it can also be the mentality, the attitude with which a single person leads his life. He’s too sure of himself and of what he does so much that there’s no room to listen to another voice apart from his own habitual ways.
But we know to too well that such solidarity and determination among the men of Sodom do not help for the survival of the people but their own destruction.
That makes me think of the possible danger of the inner circle attitude that may exist in a group or in a single person who wraps upon himself. Well, persons may band themselves together to do something that’s life-giving but it may happen also that they enclose themselves into a chamber for their own destruction. That’s why the whisper of the foreigner may be necessary. It confronts them with another way of seeing and doing things.
And so the question is: how attentive am I to that whispering voice of the foreigner from outside and inside me?
Subscribe to receive new posts in your email box. It’s free!