Four sins cry out to God for vengeance: homicide, sodomy, oppression of widows and orphans, and cheating laborers of their due. All sins disrupt the natural order, but these four strike at the very roots of our nature.
What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground Gen 4:10.
God has placed in our souls a fierce drive to protect human life from conception to natural death, strikes at the roots of our nature primarily because it is the means by which our souls prepare for eternal life in heaven and we need the full time God has allotted us to decide. We pass into God’s judgment and eternal life as we are at the moment of earthly death.
A second, and subordinate, reason to protect our own lives is that we fit into the temporal order. We may have a wife and children who would starve if we prematurely passed into eternity. We go each morning to a workplace where we’re part of an economic engine that generates a living for all in the company.
Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know Gen 18:20–21.
Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with homosexual activity. When the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, appearing as men, Lot welcomed them into his home. But the men of Sodom, “all the people to the last man” Gen 19:4, gathered in front of Lot’s house and called to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know [wenedah] them” Gen 19:5. This Hebrew word wenedah comes from yda, which means both “to know,” and “to have sexual relations.” “Now Adam knew [yada] Eve his wife, and she conceived” Gen 4:1.
Lot was so desperate to protect the sojourners that he offered the men his virgin daughters instead. “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known [lo-yodu] man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please” Gen 19:7–8. But the Sodomites rejected the two virgin girls, they wanted only the men.
Sodomy strikes at the root of human nature because it perverts our procreative impulse. If all of a nation’s people are heterosexual and do not abort its population will increase. But if all of a nation’s people were homosexual even for a single generation, the nation would soon cease to exist.
Oppression of Widows and Orphans
God is a Holy Trinity, a family of three divine persons. We are God’s image Gen 1:27, from the beginning he made our human nature to also live as families: “Be fruitful and multiply” Gen 1:28. “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” Gen 2:24. Rabbi Yeshua taught it as well. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” Eph 5:23. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Eph 5:25. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” Eph 6:1. The father protects, the mother nurtures, and the children grow and learn.
A woman whose husband has passed into eternity no longer has the protection she has been accustomed to, and so is much more vulnerable to abuse by those who would take her virtue or her money. A child who has no parents is even more vulnerable to intimidation or false sympathy.
A man who freely accepted his marriage vows, thereby allowing his wife to depend on his wise guidance and providence for her and their children, and who then abandons them through divorce, by his own hand delivers his wife and children into a desperate situation. God will judge such a man with justice.
Oppression of Laborers
You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brethren or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns; you shall give him his hire on the day he earns it, before the sun goes down (for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it); lest he cry against you to the LORD, and it be sin in you Deut 24:14–15.
Catholic social teaching calls us all to promote the common good, in this case through the principle of solidarity. § 1906 “By common good is to be understood the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily. The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority.” Pope Benedict XVI told us in Caritas in Veritate, § 38: “Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State.”
§ 2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.
§ 2403 The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. the universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.
§ 2404 In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself. The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.
Adding it All Up
Men in positions of authority are responsible before Rabbi Yeshua for wise stewardship of their goods, well beyond what the state laws require. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart“ 1 Sam 16:7. State laws require paying the worker the amount he expects when he expects it, but going beyond them reaches whether we did all we could to help him in his time of need.
These four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance are given here in decreasing order of gravity, but they are bound together insofar as we regard men and women with immortal souls as objects to be manipulated. God’s particular judgment awaits us all.