Bible Study: Putting others first

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passages: Genesis 13:5-11, 14-18

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some early steps we can take to avoid or reduce conflict?
  • Why is humility a key when solving relational tension?
  • How would you describe the difference between Lot and Abram?

Food for Thought:

We are always managing tensions in life. Learning how to handle the tension in a way that honors Christ is our goal as believers. One of the most difficult tensions we must manage is relational tension, including the nationwide medical, political and racial tension we’re all experiencing at this time in our culture. We can’t escape it, and some of it ends up being hard to handle.

The tension in some relationships may have been stirring like a steady current for a long time. Others suddenly came out of nowhere like a heavy gust of wind. This lesson invites us to take some cues from Abram to see how he navigated the waters of his relationships.

Read Genesis 13:5-11. Abram went to Egypt because of a great famine in the land of Canaan. When he returned to Canaan, he returned with a lot more than he left with – a whole lot more! And his nephew Lot apparently did as well.

Their collective wealth made traveling together extremely difficult. This created tension between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. It was a “turf war” type of conflict.

As the leader of the large assembly, Abram had a choice: he could ignore the conflict or he could confront it. Abram chose to confront it. Abram didn’t run from the conflict; he had the courage to face it head on, and he did so by first thinking of his relationship with his nephew Lot.

We face the same decision anytime conflict arises in our relationships. Do we ignore the issue or confront it? Let us keep moving toward unity because the tension and conflict is just not worth it. This is especially true in the church and with relationships among believers. We are to make “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). We cannot control the attitudes and actions of another individual or group, but we can control our own attitudes and actions. We must evaluate our role by asking: Am I doing my part to maintain peace and resolve the conflict?

Abram also lowered the temperature of the tension by walking into his conversation with Lot without the goal of winning the conversation. The goal in any conflict cannot be about who is right; it must be about making it right. In order to make things right, we must be willing to put the other person first.

Abram confronted the issue and lowered the temperature. When done correctly, confrontation can show the other person how much we care. It demonstrates how much the individual matters to us. This practice can prevent so much unnecessary conflict. The alternative approach of ignoring the issue does not solve anything. In fact, by ignoring a tiny issue, we allow it to fester and grow. Over time, you can discover a gigantic wall in a relationship that should never have built up in the first place.

YOU

YOU is committed to providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit You.Lifeway.com

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