Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. Genesis 13:8, 9.
Abraham returned to Canaan “very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold.” Lot was still with him and again they came to Bethel, and pitched their tents by the altar which they had before erected. They soon found that increased possessions brought increased trouble. In the midst of hardships and trials they had dwelt together in harmony, but in their prosperity there was danger of strife between them. The pasturage was not sufficient for the flocks and herds of both…. It was evident that they must separate. Abraham was Lot’s senior in years, and his superior in relation, in wealth and in position; yet he was the first to propose plans for preserving peace. Although the whole land had been given him by God Himself, he courteously waived his right….
Here the noble, unselfish spirit of Abraham was displayed. How many under similar circumstances would, at all hazards, cling to their individual rights and preferences! How many households have thus been rent asunder! How many churches have been divided, making the cause of truth a byword and a reproach among the wicked! “Let there be no strife between me and thee,” said Abraham, “for we be brethren;” not only by natural relationship, but as worshipers of the true God.
The children of God the world over are one family, and the same spirit of love and conciliation should govern them. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10), is the teaching of our Saviour. The cultivation of a uniform courtesy, a willingness to do to others as we would wish them to do to us, would annihilate half the ills of life.
The spirit of self-aggrandizement is the spirit of Satan; but the heart in which the love of Christ is cherished, will possess that charity which seeketh not her own. Such will heed the divine injunction, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4).