Thursday, February 7, 2019

Surviving Sodom and Gomorrah

Written by Alberta Parish

The cultural violence that existed in the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was no different from the violence that exist in America: violence against women, violence against children, violence against men, violence against the elderly, violence against the weak and feebleminded, violence against strangers. The sins of Sodom, according to Ezekiel, were pride, abundance of idleness, and fullness of food while at the same time they did nothing to help the poor and needy although Sodom was a prosperous city. Ezekiel also said they committed abomination(s) before the Lord and He took them all away as He saw good. The men of Sodom wanted to rape the two angels that looked like men. The men of Sodom also raped women and engaged in sexual activities that were abnormal. Jude said they went "after strange flesh," which means they committed sodomy and bestiality. Haughtiness was also a sin of Sodom, which means they were overbearing and thought themselves better than others. In fact, according to the Genesis account, when the men of Sodom surrounded Lot's house demanding that he send the two men outside so they may "know" them, Lot entreated them to not do wickedly unto these two men and afterwards offered up his own daughters to them. But the men of Sodom told Lot that although he came to sojourn among them, he has made himself a judge over them. They refused to listen to correction, instruction, and reproof when it came to their dysfunctional and wicked behavior. How many of you know dysfunctional people who refuse to listen to righteous instruction? How many of you know people that truly believe they are better than you because they have more money than you or they have a better job than you or they're more prosperous than you? These same people can't take any of their riches or jewelry or cars or houses or land with them when they die! Often, most Black people die poor in this country! You don't really know what you're going to come to in this life or what will happen to you just before you leave this world! You can turn up your nose at other people or think you're better than another human being because you have more money, which is all fake money (none of it is real)! However, you can end up losing everything, even your soul.

Not only am I surviving a racist system but I'm a survivor of a lawless nation. Sodom and Gomorrah have become havens of wickedness, and places that swallow up the righteous. But I'm a survivor of Sodom and Gomorrah. I'm a survivor of the system of racism. I'm a survivor of an unjust system in which nearly half of all jail and prison inmates comprise Black people. I've survived the crack epidemic of the 1980's and 90's. I'm a survivor of cultural violence.

Surviving Sodom and Gomorrah not only entails surviving in a racist country but it entails surviving toxic and/or dangerous people who will try and harm you. There are many dangerous people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and you better be sober and vigilant because if you're not, you can be taken in one of the many snares that your enemies all around you have laid out in your path such as drug and alcohol addiction, STDs, prison, sexual violence, promiscuous behavior.

In Sodom and Gomorrah, there are people that hate or dislike you just because you're a good person! They can't stand it that you're unmarked, unscathed or unbroken by relationships. Many of them are currently in dysfunctional relationships in which they're being emotionally, physically, verbally, and/or sexually abused and you're not going through any of that! Sometimes people become jealous because you aren't suffering like they are or you aren't suffering enough! There are certain individuals around you that want to see you fail or fall so they can laugh and say, "Aha, I knew she wasn't what she pretended to be! I knew she wasn't all that! I knew she wasn't a real Christian!" Sodom and Gomorrah exists in every town, every city, every state. In Sodom and Gomorrah, you don't always see the devil coming but he surely sees you.

As a woman, I have to guard my heart from inconsistent, inconsiderate and selfish men or just from those who think they're above me or better than me due to their economic status. I have to protect my heart from arrogant and haughty men. In Sodom and Gomorrah, not only am I forced to navigate through toxic relationships but I have to protect myself from potentially dangerous persons, protect myself from sexually transmitted diseases, and protect myself from the rape culture because most of these men out here are raping women.

According to an FBI report published in 2018, there has been a 20% increase in reported rapes since 2013. According to the CDC, almost 50% of Black women have genital herpes. Nearly half of all marriages for Black women end in divorce. Nearly 73% of all African American babies are born out of wedlock.

I'm a survivor of the rape culture. If I wasn't who I was or didn't maintain my integrity, the wolves would've eaten me alive. I've never had an STD. I've survived becoming another statistic as a single parent. This is not a suitable world in which to bring a child, and I do not regret a single day in which I chose to not get pregnant. I have survived potentially abusive relationships with men by protecting my heart, following my instincts, and being vigilant. Call it divine intervention or sheer luck, I even survived a potential rape during the age of 5 and possibly 4 by a child predator and his then girlfriend or wife who also molested me. If my mama hadn't taken me completely out of that situation, that man possibly would have penetrated me. But thank God for His divine favor and protection because many children don't go unscathed and uncorrupted by rape and sexual penetration of the anus. I never told my mama that I was sexually molested until I was in my 30s.

You must be strong, sober, and vigilant to survive in Sodom and Gomorrah. I found the church at an early age. I found God at an early age. I was taught righteousness and godliness from an early age. My pastor who is a woman was a righteous example for me. My mother was also a righteous example for me. She didn't engage in promiscuity. She didn't teach me how to use my body to get money from men. My mama was a true Christian. I chose to turn away from acts that would've been detrimental to me. I chose God. I do not regret my choice to be a church girl and a Christian. I'm a survivor of a faithless nation who has turned against the Almighty and has chosen the way of evil.

There is nothing wrong with being a Christian in Sodom and Gomorrah. People think they know what it is to be a Christian. But they don't know what it is to be a Christian because many have never been Christians. Being a Christian means sacrificing your life for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Surviving Sodom and Gomorrah has meant personal sacrifice. There's no way one can survive in Sodom and Gomorrah unless he/she sacrifice parts of themselves that are self-destructive. Don't let Sodom and Gomorrah have your soul. #survivingsodomandgomorrah. #survivingbabylon. #survivingtherapeculture. #survivingsexualviolence.

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