Toxic Environments

 In Catalyst

In the very same way, these dreamers pollute ….” (Jude 8)

Sodom and Gomorrah was a toxic place. Lot and his family almost paid dearly. Originally, Genesis 13 tells us Lot’s desire was to live with his family in the Plains of Jordan. Greed and strife led him to leave Abram and he was gradually Toxic Environmentsdrawn into Sodom and Gomorrah.  He made a home there for his family. He and his family became connected with the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah by marriage ties.  He was in a toxic environment and it almost killed him.

The Bible talks a lot about atmosphere and environment.  In Genesis 1, we see God at work creating.  And we notice the first verse: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) It’s not for another 26 verses that God creates humans. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. …” (Genesis 1:26)   In other words, atmospheres and environments are created first by God before people inhabit them.

Part of our created nature – the image of God we’re created in – is that God has given us the capacity to create, too.  We create our own environment and atmosphere every day.  When you get home from work, there is an atmosphere waiting for you in your home – it may be peaceful or toxic – but it’s there.  When we respond to crisis, we’re creating an environment. We create atmospheres with what we say to others. We even create atmospheres by the way we think. That’s why Paul says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

I’m convinced that’s why Jesus always had crowds following him – not because he was such a great teacher, but because of the wonderful life-giving atmosphere he created wherever he went.

What atmosphere are you creating this week? Is it life-giving? Filled with love and God’s grace? Maybe it’s toxic – stress, worry, doubt, anger, fear? We must be careful that, unlike Lot, we aren’t drawn into toxicity. Think about this and let’s talk on Sunday! I’ll see you at church.

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