So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.” Genesis 13, 8

 

Dear Readers,

 

On the sign that hung in the doorway to welcome me I read a sign “Don´t let us avoid a fight”. The man actually seemed quite friendly. Probably this motto of life was not meant quite seriously either. 

Abram and his nephew Lot would have had reason to quarrel.  They shared the grazing land of their cattle herds. But at some point the common land was too small for the many sheep and goats. The herds of cattle grew larger in numbers. Abram's and Lot's shepherds fought over the best grazing land.

 

Just imagine if Abram had hung a sign at the entrance to his tent, "I like to argue with everyone!" I like to pour oil on the fire! “ I am a passionate arguer who lies awake in bed at night thinking about how I can come out as the winner”.

 

Then he probably would have said, "This is my land. I own the better pastures, and that's what I'm fighting for. I won't give up an inch of it. And to his men he could have said: Men, defend my land! By force if necessary. You will be given additional weapons to defend my property”.

 

And besides, I am the elder. In our family, the elder gets the lead to decide what is done. It has always been like that! So, I and nobody else will decide who has to stay here and who has to leave. And you, my dear Lot, you have to go! My dear nephew Lot, pack your things and leave together with your shepherds and cattle. There is no more room for the two of us together here, I'm afraid.”

 

But Abram does not have sleepless nights. He is not a man who seeks quarrel with his brother. He is a man of peace and treats his nephew like his brother. He takes the lead and makes Lot a good proposal: Let us look for new pasture land together. You have the privilege to decide whether you take the direction to the left or to the right. You have priority to decide. You have the first choice. I submit to your decision.

 

In Abram´s attitude, the gospel already shines forth. Much later, the apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome (Romans 12:10): “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another  above yourselves.”

This is what Abram does. He treats his nephew with great appreciation! And God has blessed his decision. You can read about it in Genesis 13:14 - 18. Jesus Christ blesses the peacemakers. He says in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5, 5+9): Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

 

How about throwing those words "Just don't avoid a fight" in the trash and taking every opportunity to become a peacemaker? The first step is to treat the other person with appreciation and respect. The second step is to renounce privileges and show the other person a way out of the crisis. Taking steps together into the future.

 

I wish you to find inner peace in difficult decisions and to build bridges to the other in conflict situations. God bless your thoughts and deeds of peace. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you in spirit, soul and body.  

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© 2021 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main