"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen" (Ezekiel 16:49-50, NIV).
Many people may know that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their homosexual behavior (Genesis 18-19). However, fewer may realize that homosexuality was merely one manifestation of a larger problem: a completely ungodly self-centeredness.
The people of Sodom were arrogant. They believed themselves to be independent and self-reliant. They were wise in their own eyes. They rejected the standards of nature and nature's God in favor of their own selfish standards. Gratitude was a foreign concept to them.
They were overfed and unconcerned. The Sodomites were flourishing. Who cared if others were hurting due to their business practices? As long as they were doing well, oppression was not a concern.
They did not help the poor and needy. If generosity existed at all among the citizens of Sodom, it was the type of generosity that expected to be paid back. A friend could have received a meal because he could return the favor. A disabled beggar could starve before receiving aid, unless it could be written off on their taxes. A prosperity preacher could have received money, if he convinced them that they would be paid back 100-fold by whatever deities they acknowledged.
They were haughty. They were not merely arrogant; they flaunted it. They were self-made men and women, and they let it be known that they worshiped their makers. They celebrated debauchery and condemned as intolerant anyone who told the truth.
They did detestable things before God, not the least of which was attempted homosexual gang rape of visitors to their city (Genesis 19:1-11). Their morality and ethics reflected nothing of the image of God.
Obviously, the people of Sodom are not alone in their sins. If we are going to escape their fate, we will need to become people of humility, compassion, generosity, and high ethical and moral standards. Even more importantly, we will need God's forgiveness because, individually and collectively, we have already failed. Thankfully, God offers his forgiveness to everyone who will trust and follow his Son Jesus Christ.