“And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”Genesis 13:7-9
It seems like the first 30+ years of my life were filled with strife and drama. There were times when I looked for it, and times when it found me like a destination on a GPS. I think of the grade school quarrels and the quarrels with my sister that occurred in my own house. I would like to say I was the peacemaker, but if I do, my family will read this and call me a big fat liar. There were times when I should have walked away from contention, but it seemed like my feet were stuck in cement, and I stayed to prove a point.
I have a Christian friend at work who started around the same time I did. We saw each other in the training area when we first started and he had a smile as big as mine. He had just left a career that required a lot from him, and I had just left retail which required a lot from me. We were both thrilled to start something new with a great company. We quickly became friends and even began to work side by side as coaches teaching new hires. We started to grow closer and we both applied for another job that would have us working together on a small team.
We were both selected for this job and started to spend more time together. We began to share things that we could pray for each other about. We encouraged each other in the things of the Lord. Then, after a few months, I am not sure when and why, we started to drift apart. We went on a work trip together in which I thought we would bond and grow closer, but I said some things to him I shouldn’t have said. We came back from the trip and one could hardly tell that we were even friends at one point. We did not talk much after that, and as much as I tried to bridge the gap, it just seemed too great. Proverbs 18:19 states, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
We remain friends, but we are not as close as we used to be. I regret that I was not a peacemaker when we started to drift apart, and I regret that I was not a better friend. It seems like I can close my eyes and hear the words I said and the wrongful actions I displayed. Abram was not like me, and sought peace when there was a quarrel between his employees and Lot’s employees. Matthew 5:9 states, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” I think back to how different things would be in my life if I took Abram’s approach instead of the “Saso approach”. I needed to humble myself and do what was right, instead of puffing up myself and defending what I thought was right.
Are you a peacemaker, or are you one who is plagued with drama in your life? Do you see the best in others, or do you have a contentious spirit? Do you come armed with the best intentions, or are you quick to accuse others? I see no mention that Abram tried to prove that he was right, but he took the high road and sought to squelch the disagreement. May we be quick to forgive even if we are not asked, and may we be careful to value our relationships with others. Proverbs 17:14 states, “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off (stop) contention, before it be meddled with (a quarrel breaks out).”