When Ian and I knew we were having another baby, we discussed names as most couples do. A name that I loved for a boy was Abram or Abraham. I was trying to talk Ian into it by saying we could call him “Abe” for short, as in “Honest Abe,” one of Ian’s favorite historical figures. In my heart though, I liked the name because of the Biblical nature of it.
But that doesn’t mean I really knew much about Abraham. I just knew he was an old dude who did a lot of good things from the Bible. I’ve never been a huge Bible person. It felt too old school for me (not the cool old school….the other kind…..)(let me just apologize now for sharing my borderline blasphemous thoughts during this post….) But this past year, thanks to the gentle leading of my most wonderful best friend Lorena, I have started to REALLY read the words in the Bible and study them.
I’ve been reading about Abram/Abraham (if you’re familiar with Abraham, you’ll know his name was first Abram and it was later changed to Abraham. Something that happened occasionally in the Bible, the change of names). This morning, at 3am (I can’t sleep. Too much stress. Too much pain. Too much of an active brain) I started reading about Abraham and his walk to Sodom with the Lord. (This story can be found in Genesis chapter 18 if you’d like to read it). The Lord teaches Abraham a pretty big lesson on this walk to Sodom and it’s a lesson I think all of us need to learn and live.
As they walk, the Lord tells Abraham that He has received word of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord said he would go down and see if what they had done was as bad as he had heard. Abraham is concerned and asks “will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (Gen 18:23) and then proceeds to ask if the Lord will destroy the entire city even if there are 50 people there who are not wicked. The Lord says he will not destroy the city and will save it for the 50.
Abraham asks again, if the Lord will destroy the entire city even if there are 45 people who are not wicked. The Lord says he will not destroy the city and will save it for the 45.
Again, Abraham asks if the Lord will destroy the entire city even if there are 40 people who are not wicked. Again, the Lord says he will not destroy the city and will save it for the 40.
Abraham, the brave and curious man, asks the Lord again, what if there are only 30? (At this point I’m thinking, “cut to the chase Abraham! Ask him if there is just 5 or something! And why do we have to go by 5’s?!?!) (Goodness I’m so impatient, even with an old righteous dude in the Bible!) (is it blasphemous to call Abraham an “old righteous dude?” does it help that I hear Bill & Ted’s voices saying it..?) The Lord says he will spare the entire city for 30. And lastly, what if there are only 10? The same answer from the Lord.
What did the Lord teach Abraham here?
That it was important to go and see before casting judgement.
I grew up in a religion that was a minority in my small town. In my entire high school, there were about 20 kids who went to the same church I did, out of 1500. I can remember losing friends once they found out what church I went to. I can remember being ruthlessly questioned and made fun of by teenagers who went to other churches. I never understood it. If we all believe in God and Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we all practice kindness to each other? REGARDLESS of what church we attend?
This was the point in my life I really began to understand the importance of Seeking First to Understand, Then to be Understood. (Which is the 5th Habit of Highly Effective People, the series of habits put together by Dr. Stephen R. Covey…also my favorite habit of the 7) Or as Abraham was taught it is important to “go and see” before casting judgement.
If you have questions about something, you should ask.
If you hear something from someone and you aren’t sure if it is true, you should ask.
You should “go and see” before casting judgement.
And while we’re on the subject of Abraham, here’s another lesson I learned from this old righteous dude.
One night, Abraham was lamenting to God the fact that he had no children. (This is in Genesis 15 if you’d like to read the actual words instead of my very short synopsis). God asked him to go outside of his tent and to look up. He told him his posterity would number the stars. But the thing that really caught my eye here: Abraham had a problem, he brought it to God, who told him to look up.
When we have challenges and trials in our lives, I’d suggest we follow Abraham’s example and look up…Pray…Ask for guidance…Trust…Have faith. So simple, yet so helpful.
So, to recap, 2 things Abraham has taught me:
-Go and see before casting judgement
-When I have challenges, look up.
And with that, peace out ya’ll.