There are countless of old westerns that had this concept (if not the words themselves). Two characters that were facing off to claim a town or territory. Usually a good guy vs. a bad guy but sometimes just a battle between two bad guys. Typically the way to settle this was the old west icon… a duel in the middle of the street.
Now of course we don’t see too many duels these days but the struggle behind the duel has never gone away. The reasons behind the tension can vary for hundreds of reasons, but it is common place where tension between two people or people groups eventually leads to some sort of problem. Most of the time, this problem is expounded as each party seeks to get what is best for them in this disagreement.
Abram and Lot faced such a dilemma. Each of them had grown wealthy and problems began to arise between their people. Both Abram and Lot had so much possessions and live stock, “so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.” (Gen 13:6-7a)
Relationship over territory
As each group of herdsmen battled for the natural resources to care for their respective flocks, a battle loomed that basically led to Abram admitting that ‘this land ain’t big enough for the two of us’. However, rather than seek some sort of duel or other power trip to settle the land dispute, Abram surrenders all power in the struggle to Lot… putting relationship over the result of the solution. “Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”” (Gen 13:8-9)
In a time and place where useful land was scarce and at a premium, Abram cared more for protecting the relationship between himself and his nephew than he did about what territory he ended up with to care for his flock. And as we’ll learn a bit later in the story, this selfless sacrifice kept him away from a terrible and wicked land. God will reward his selfless action soon.
What trumps your relationships?
Be honest. How often have you allowed something to trump your relationships? What things have risen above your relationships in life? Perhaps it wasn’t as tangible as land for your livestock, but I’m sure it was something. Here’s a few common areas of strife that has risen above relationships in mine or other friends lives.
Ways of raising children; use of a borrowed possession; politics; style of worship; sports teams; the list could go on. All too often we raise the value of these trivial things to a level above the value of our relationships with friends and loved ones. We hold fast to our perceived right and value it over a relationship.
We can learn a lot from how Abram responded to this situation. Placing value of the relationship over the thing is a selfless act that will please the other person and God. Work hard to remember the value your relationships and keep them in their proper place. Remember, we are to love God and love others. Everything else should fall under these.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.