Ghosts. We all have them. Those things from the past that just won’t leave us alone. Ghosts of what was. Ghosts of what might have been. Ghosts of what should have been. Some people are more haunted by their ghosts than others. Why is that? There are those of us who can’t seem to let go of the past – who are constantly looking back and pulling those memories out like worry beads, dwelling on them and reliving them. There was a woman in the Scriptures who was like that.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is told in the book of Genesis, Chapter 19, verses 1-27. At verse 26 is told what happened to Lot’s wife when she disobeyed God’s command to NOT LOOK BACK. Most Bible commentaries focus on her disobedience. Some even call her as sinful as all of the others destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah. Today, though, I want to focus on what happened to her when she looked back.
Looking back is rarely edifying. Some of us have mastered the art of replaying good memories and discarding the bad. There are those among us, however, who can only look at the regrets and the hurts of their past. These dear ones, like Lot’s wife, have become pillars of salt.
Why salt? Why not stone, or wood, or some other mineral, like iron? Why did GOD turn Lot’s wife into a solid statue of salt? This is an important point in the story. Remember that Jesus warned the people to “Remember Lot’s wife.” in Luke 17:32. He didn’t say “remember Sodom and Gomorrah”, but “Remember Lot’s wife.” In taking a closer look at the salt aspect we have to remember the purpose for which Jesus came – to be a sacrifice for all of our sin and provide a way for us to be saved. He came to destroy the works of the enemy, not to destroy mankind. So when Jesus warned them to remember Lot’s wife, was he warning them that they were doomed to destruction if they didn’t listen?
Salt is used to season food. It provides savor and enhances the taste of food. It is also used as a curative and a preservative. So why did God use salt? If we take this in conjunction with the words of Christ, we have to look at the spiritual aspect. Christians are the salt of the world (Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”) A Christian in their daily life acts as seasoning in the lives of others. Our words and actions are to produce and enhanced flavor in the lives of others. When we speak, salt should pour out into the lives of those around us. However, if we have become lukewarm in our relationship with God then our salt begins to lose its saltiness. And as Christ said in Matthew 5:13, it becomes useless. In ancient times, when salt became useless they threw it out into the roads to act as pavement!
The other thing you may have noticed about salt is that if it is left in the salt shaker unused, it becomes a hardened mass – like Lot’s wife. Salt that is savory and useful is free-flowing and fresh.
In our lives, our own salt can become hardened and flavorless if we, like Lot’s wife, look back on our past with regrets or pining or unforgiveness. It is incumbent upon us to keep our salt free-flowing and flavorful, and in order to do that we need to deal with the ghosts of our past. It’s time to move on. It’s time to truly forgive – whether that forgiveness needs to be directed at someone who hurt or offended us; someone who hindered us; God; or even ourselves. It is time to stop blaming and start living.
Dealing with our ghosts can be a painful process, but it won’t kill us. Not dealing with them might! Our hearts might not want to forgive, but that’s okay, because our hearts (feelings, emotions) will follow our heads. We make a determination in our minds to forgive and then we take that to God and ask for His help in forgiving. My favorite prayer goes something like this: “Lord, I choose to forgive _____ for _____. Please help me to forgive.” I have found God to be faithful every time.
So today, let’s lay those ghosts to rest, refill our shakers, and get out into the world and spread some salt!
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”