For the Sake of Love
Finally, Abraham said, “Oh, let not the Lord be angry; I will speak but this once more! Suppose only ten are found?” And God said, “Then, for the sake of the ten, I won’t destroy it.” – Genesis 18:32 (TLB)
Ever had your laughter come to a quick stop when the teacher stood in the front of the room and threatened to keep everyone in from recess if the student responsible for the newly drawn mustache on George Washington’s picture didn’t own up to it? Remember how unfair it felt that someone in the room had to point a finger, snitch, throw folx under the bus?
I don’t doubt Abraham was trying to save himself and those he loved when he spoke up. Self-preservation is a real thing. Standing up to protect your own people and your own community can be an honorable thing to do.
But Abraham’s survival strategy for his people was not to vehemently place blame, desperately point fingers, arrogantly keep score, or hatefully list the sins of the wicked. This would have been a waste of breath. Obviously, God knew all of this already—hence the heated conversation.
Abraham chose an approach that my Facebook timeline too often reminds me we could all do more of: he lifted up the possibility for redemption and transformation. Abraham pointed out that goodness and righteousness still prevailed in the midst of evil and disobedience, and that all was not lost.
Abraham spoke up and reminded God that love will win.
Love will win!
God, we know that there is much that we must speak out against in these days: caged children, state-sanctioned murder, the criminalization of women’s rights, prosecution for providing water, systemic poverty, demonization of LGTBQIA+ folx, and so much more. You know how long the list is. For the sake of love, please guide us today as we seek to employ Abraham’s life-saving strategy in our fight for justice and joy. Amen.
Marilyn Pagán-Banks serves as Pastor of San Lucas UCC, Executive Director of A Just Harvest and Adjunct Professor at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.