To Choose Unity

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.”

Abram chose unity. He offered Lot first choice of the land, knowing certainly, that his nephew would choose the land that looked best. He also knew it was worth it. As it turned out, Lot did choose the land that looked best, seeing that it was well watered everywhere like the Garden of the Lord. So Abram settled in the land of Canaan.

What I love about this story is that God commanded Abram to “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” He promised to give Abram and his offspring all the land. It was his land! But when unity was at stake, he willingly gave it up.

Do I find in myself such humility? When there is strife or conflict, in humility do I step back, release, submit, go low, or in pride do I stand firm, hold tight, resist, and cling to my rights?

In my marriage, choosing unity looks like this: in kindness, patience, and humility choosing to diffuse conflict when my sinful nature desires only to prove, defend, and retaliate. It means focusing my attention on my husband’s hurt or frustration rather than on being “right.” And it means focusing on his hurt or frustration rather than my own, because I’m called to love him more than I love myself.

In all my relationships, with family, with friends, with leaders, with authority, choosing unity looks the same- loving them more than I love myself. It means believing God is my defender and my comfort, so I can trust Him to tend to my hurt, my frustration, and my disappointment when I step back, release, submit, and go low. I can put others first because I know that He is already taking care of me. I can choose, like Abram, to willingly give up what is rightfully mine knowing that God holds my life in His hands. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. I want to love what He loves and hate what He hates. And He loves unity.

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