“Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof” (Genesis 19:8).
What was Lot thinking? Obviously, he wasn’t. His thinking had been clouded by fear, and his response was governed by the conditioned response of society. You see, in Lot’s world, hospitality was so important that it would be unthinkable to abandon his guests to this mob!
But what father would turn his virgin daughters over to a mob to be gang raped? This just doesn’t compute with you or me. What Lot did was wrong! The only explanation is fear. Fear can cause us to do things without thinking through the consequences. (We will see this same kind of fear played out with his daughters later on in a cave outside the city of Zoar.)
We may not understand Lot’s misplaced values, but we ought to be able to understand fear. Fear often causes us to react in ungodly ways in accordance with the conditioning of our society. For example, in America, the act of aborting a child has been effectively legal since 1973—and it has become a conditioned response to what can be a fearful situation!
What mother would willingly end the life of her child—a mother who is gripped by fear and has been conditioned by society to believe that it is an acceptable option. That is why we need to support the work of crisis pregnancy centers. The caring people at these centers attempt to remove one element of this deadly equation—the element of fear—as they seek to provide a way out of the situation by seeking to provide whatever help and counsel are necessary to get that young girl or woman to overcome her fears and carry her child to term.
This is why we need to work to overturn the laws that make this act acceptable to many in our society. This is why we need to work to overturn society’s conditioned response to an unplanned pregnancy!
And what about those mothers who acted on their fears and aborted their child? We need to be there for them as well, assuring them of a loving, merciful, forgiving God—reminding them that there is no sin that Jesus did not pay for on the cross!
There is one more conditioned response that needs to be addressed and that is the conditioned response of the church. People in the pews need to be conditioned to the heart of God and His concerns about life. This is not to be done in a manipulative way but rather by simply and consistently preaching the Word of God and what He says about life, trusting the Holy Spirit to do His work!
Prayer: Father, You have not given us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love, and a sound mind. Help us in our moments of panic to turn to You and trust You for our deliverance.
Duane Matz served as a lay pastor with the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) from 1999 to 2009, as well as an announcer on Christian radio station WEMI – The Family in Appleton, Wisconsin, for 25 years. Now retired, he and his wife Joan are members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Greenville, Wisconsin.