The Elusive Win/Win

This past week we discussed the story of Abram and Lot parting company in Genesis 13: 1-13. Both of these men and their families had grown quite wealthy, with large herds and men working their herds. The land was unable to sustain both of them living in close proximity so Abram decided they should part ways. Being the gentlemen that he was, Abram informed Lot they should not fight over this decision, but Lot should pick where he would go and Abram would go the other direction. In this way they would separate amicably and everyone would be happy.

Lot made his choice in the Jordan Valley. The valley was lush and green and well watered and offered excellent forage for his herds. Abram went the opposite direction and settled in Canaan where the Perizites and Hittites were living. The two men separated and went their own ways saving their relationship and any hard feelings from occurring due to fights between their workers etc.

So what are we to take away from this?

  • Abram was trusting in God. He knew God would provide so he did not pursue that which appeared better, he gave Lot the choice to select what he thought was best and Abram went the other way.
    • Is it possible we could see in this choice and behavior Lot choosing to move closer to Sodom and Gomorrah and the sinning ways because it looked most appealing while Abram went in the opposite direction towards even greater righteousness if we wanted to?
  • We see an excellent effort on Abram’s part at conflict resolution. The elusive win/win in conflict resolution is a challenge to achieve. We often arrive at win/lose happily as long as I am winning and you are losing. Sometimes we will even smile and be happy at the lose/lose if it means you do not win. Abram however is trying for the win/win, which happens when we stay within God’s will.
    • We will discover later that it was a win/lose as Abram is informed Sodom and Gomorrah are going to be destroyed for their sinful ways and Lot is in the city!
  • Frequently we allow greed and covetousness to guide our decision making, whereas God wants His will to guide our decisions. Waiting for God to make known His plan ensures we stay within His will and in so doing sometimes decisions need to be put off until clarity is present.

This is a great story. Many of us are familiar with it, but I do not think we give Abram enough credit for trying to get to the win/win in settling the dispute between their two houses. In the end it does not work out, but initially it is a win/win and everyone is happy.

As Christians how often do we seek a win at someone elses expense? A better option to is love our neighbor as we love ourselves and seek a win for them in our decisions as much as for ourselves. In doing so our testimony is strengthened and we will likely win another friend for life. Our decisions will match our beliefs, a real rarity these days.