When your herdsmen quarrel

Genesis 13: 8-9 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

As Abram and Lot travel together, they run into a problem. Their flocks and families have grown so large that the land cannot support both of them together, and fights begin to break out among their herdsmen. (Not exactly a specific argument I’ve had with any family members lately, but the general spirit of things definitely feels familiar!) Abram’s strategy for handling this conflict is useful to dissect.

1.     He openly acknowledges that there is a quarrel.

2.     He draws on their close relationship as a reason for why they should resolve the quarrel quickly and with kindness.

3.     He is generous in his solution, allowing Lot to choose the best of the land for himself.

I don't know about you, but this does not look terribly close to my first instinct when it comes to resolving family quarrels. Think of a recent or active argument you have with a family member or friend. What might it look like to use Abram’s strategy in that space?