When Separation Is Necessary and Wise

Daily Devotional: Day 135

“So Abram [Abraham] said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left’” (Genesis 13:8-9, NKJV).

Abram had spent some time in Egypt. After his sojourn, he returned with his family to Bethel. By this time, Abram was very rich in silver, gold and livestock. Lot, Abram’s nephew, also had great possessions. As time went by, the land could not support both Abram and Lot. Inevitably, tension arose between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen. Our Scripture reading today tells us about Abram’s response to the crisis.

Dwelling together with your brethren (family, relatives, etc.) may be the ideal thing to do. Sometimes, however, for the sake of unity and peace, it is better to separate physically from people you love. Physical separation does not always mean disunity. In other words, unity is more than physical co-presence. You can stay united in many ways without necessarily dwelling together. This is important, because dwelling together in harmony requires special skill set and virtue which include patience, wisdom, foresight, and ability to communicate well.

Abram’s response was the response of a godly and peace-loving man. He called for separation not because he was angry or mad, but because he loved Lot so much that he didn’t want to lose him over issues of land use. He had the foresight to realize that the longer he and Lot dwelt together, it was only a matter of time before the incipient crisis developed into a full-blown family feud. He made the right call by not waiting for the crisis to get out of hand. If dwelling together with people means constant strife, argument, tension and quarrel, perhaps it is time for you to part ways – to preserve what is left of the relationship.

 At times separation is necessary and wise. I call it “holy separation.” Separation, especially separation from people you love, can be painful; but separation may be the only thing that will save a relationship from complete disintegration. Don’t stay in a toxic or potentially toxic relationship praying that things will get better when God is showing you clear warning signs that things will get worse. There is a time to pray, and there is a time for decisive action. Don’t confuse the two. When you see the signs, act promptly, before it’s too late and someone gets hurt.

May the Father’s blessing be upon you today. And, may He grant you wisdom to make the right decisions, at the right time, in the right manner. Amen.

For further meditation: Psalm 133

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