From Feb. 2014:
The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of my favorite topics in the Bible; mostly because it is, in my opinion, one of the most important, and yet misunderstood lessons recorded in the Old Testament. Throughout the scriptures, God uses the example of Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning to the nations that if the wickedness of men reach it’s fullness, God will bring down His wrath upon them. Sounds like a pretty serious lesson, so how do we become so wicked that God will destroy us?
The answer to that question, I believe, is what God is trying to teach us with the Story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Too often, though, we only look at one aspect of this lesson and immediately dismiss all the rest. Certainly, it is clear from the record that Sodom and Gomorrah were involved in sins of sensuality. This was not limited to just homosexuality, but included fornication, adultery, and any other sexual grievance in the site of the Lord. This is certainly an important part of the story and shouldn’t be overlooked, but it was not the primary reason that God destroyed the cities.
Ezekiel gives us the clearest answers as to why God’s wrath was kindled against Sodom and Gomorrah. Chapter 16 vs. 49-50 reads: “Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abominations before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good.” (KJV)
The primary sin of Sodom and the surrounding cities was pride. Ezra Taft Benson gives us a great definition of pride. He says: “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.” The principle sin of any nation then is hatred toward God and hatred towards each other – pride.
Pride is the great lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah and leads to the other crimes listed. Once a society begins to showcase its pride by forgetting God and hating each other, then the cup of the fullness of the wrath of God begins to fill. Jesus gives us the answer to the problem of pride. When asked ‘what is the greatest commandment?’ He replied ‘to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as thyself’ (paraphrased). If the primary sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was hate, then the lesson for us is to love.