Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us (v.8).
A 60-year-old man, atop a John Deere tractor, charged at his 69-year-old brother-in-law who was harvesting hay astride his own tractor. The collision resulted in a damaged tire and the tractor-crasher’s arrest. One law-enforcement official commented, “We’ve responded on prior occasions to calls because of differences between the families.” While it’s a bit unclear what the man hoped to accomplish by confronting and crunching his brother-in-law, the story shows that family feuds can escalate to ridiculous levels if they’re not resolved.
Abram and his nephew Lot needed to settle a family issue regarding farmland because the area where they lived “could not support both [of them]” (Genesis 13:6). Scuffles broke out between their herdsmen. “Finally, Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us’ ” (v.8). Abram bravely took the first step toward peace, noting the need for harmony since they were “close relatives.”
Humbly, Abram said to Lot, “Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate” (v.9). This offer showed that family relationships were more important to Abram than satisfying his self-interest. Imagine what might have happened if he had left Lot in a cloud of dust, yelling over his shoulder: Get lost, kid. I’m your elder, and I’ve got dibs on the prime real estate around here! Instead, Abram kept his word and allowed Lot to settle in the lush Jordan Valley, while he set up camp in Canaan (vv.11-12).
Abram’s actions show how humility, generosity, and selflessness can help us navigate through rough spots with our relatives. Jesus said: “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Why is it sometimes difficult to make peace with family members? How might a Christian seek peace without becoming a pushover?
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