Vs 9 – 13 – Abram gives Lot the first choice of land. Lot picks the land to the east. This not only tell us the direction he chooses to go but if we continue with the logic of heading east being synonymous to going further from the presence of God then his choice may tell us a lot about Lot’s Spiritual state. Did he choose to go further away from God’s chosen land because he was trying be further from God? Did the city of Sodom and Gomorrah looked enticing and appealing to him? More so did Lot ch0ose the ways of the world over the ways of God? We will certainly see in the coming chapters the adverse effect of Lot’s choice of land.
Lot set his tent toward the city of Sodom and Gomorrah which the author tells us was a wicked and evil city. It was wicked and evil because godless people dwelt there. Lot may have thought he was going to a city of opportunity; possibly even making a career advancement but in fact he was heading to a city that was imminently set to be destroyed.
Abram on the other hand continues to the land of Canaan; the land God had promised to give to him. He chooses to remain in the presence and in the promise of God. The city of Sodom and Gomorrah may have seemed to have a lot to offer from a human standpoint but Abram wanted to stay with God and occupy the land God had promised him.
Conflict is always a slippery slope. I think it is safe to say that most people do not enjoy conflict at all. Sure there are some who thrive on it but I wonder if they are right in the head. Generally speaking I would venture to say many people tend to avoid conflict at all costs. The reason for avoidance is usually because we don’t want to offend, it can get tense and divisive or we just do not want to come across as judgmental.
James 4:1 – 6 says, “Where do quarrels and fights among you come from?” The answer, “It comes from selfish desires that are at war in us.” When we look at any unhealthy disunity or conflict in our lives it is almost always a guarantee that the root of the problem is selfish desire. This seemed to be the case with Abram and Lot’s tribes. We see this is the case in the modern church as well. There are conflicts or fights over the style of music that is played for the time of worship, over communion, method of baptism, views of theology, placement of furniture in the building, our core purpose, jealousy, bitterness, anger and they are all rooted in selfish desire. Douglas Moo writes, “The seventeenth century Jewish philosopher Spinoza observed: ‘I have often wondered that persons make boast of professing the Christian religion – namely love, joy, peace, temperance, and charity to all men – should quarrel with such rancorous animosity and display daily towards one another such bitter hatred, that this, rather than the virtues which they profess, is the readiest criteria of their faith.’ Some battles to be sure, need to be fought. But even they must be fought without sacrificing Christian principles and virtues.”
However even though conflict may result from selfish desires the result of conflict can have both pro’s and con’s.
The Con’s (Unhealthy Conflict)
1) Unhealthy conflict can and usually does deeply wound a person or organization.
2) Unhealthy conflict can lead to physical harm (wars and abuse).
3) Unhealthy conflict can and does sever and destroy relationships.
The Pro’s (Healthy Conflict)
1) Healthy conflict can challenge the status quo (It can lead to the questions, “Why are we doing what we are doing?” “What can we do better?”)
2) Healthy conflict can lead to repentance
3) Healthy conflict can cause two parties to go their separate ways avoiding a grand scale divergence.
Whether conflict is used for good or bad there must always be some sort of a resolution.
- We must try and resolve conflict because conflict can hinder from truly worshiping God. Matt. 5:23 – 24 tells us we must resolve a conflict before we can truly worship God.
- If a conflict is left unresolved then it puts an unhealthy tension between both parties involved.
- Because we are commanded to forgive because we have been forgiven.
- Pray (Humble yourself before God and ask him to help you forgive or resolve the conflict in a healthy and godly way).
- Seek the counsel of other godly men and women.
- Try and resolve it privately (Gal. 2:2). There is no reason to involve a bunch of people in our conflicts. Plus open conflict can lead to slander, gossip, and negative and harmful criticism.
- If necessary, agree to disagree. Just because you do not agree does not mean you do not like the person. This has become a problem in a social media dependent world. People take differences of opinions personally. Sometimes people feel the need to be right over being sensitive to others. Disagreement does not need to lead to conflict.
 Moo, p. 181