For a long time when I was a kid I wanted to be a lawyer, especially a defense attorney. I loved the character of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and thought it would be cool to be the champion of the underdog, to vindicate someone unjustly accused. And those instincts always re-emerge when I read the story of Lot.
For years preachers have castigated Lot for choosing the well watered plains of Sodom, and for becoming so compromised that by Genesis 19:1 he was sitting in the gate of the city. And from his story we should learn the dangers of becoming too comfortable with the world.
Clearly, we are to guard against worldliness (Rom. 12:1; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4). But I do not believe this characterization of Lot is fair, for several reasons:
1) The Bible says he was righteous (2 Peter 2:7). That kind of ends the debate for me!
2) The same passage says he was tormented in his soul by the behavior of those around him, hardly a description of someone flippantly pitching tents toward Sodom.
3) In Gen. 19:9, the men of Sodom testify to Lot's outsider status when they say, "This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge!" Lot may have been sitting in the gate of the city, but he had not found a place in the hearts of the people of the city.
Lot was a righteous man. Lot was moved by the wickedness around him. Lot was willing to stand up to a violent mob, even if it meant risking his life. That is the Lot of the Bible, and we need a lot of people to be a lot like Lot.