“Then Abimelek called for Abraham and said to him, ‘What have you done to us? How have I sinned towards you that you have introduced this great sin upon me and upon my kingdom? Works which should not have been done, you have worked upon me.’ Abimelek said to Abraham, “What did you see that you did this thing?”
The thing that interests me the most about this confrontation is that Abimelek does right what most Christians that I interact with seem to do wrong. When Abimelek realizes that Abraham has deceived him in this way, Abimelek does not throw a temper tantrum nor does he badmouth Abraham behind his back. Abimelek also does not try to “get even” as is so often done. Instead, Abimelek confronts Abraham and asks him what the purpose of this deception was as well as asking Abraham what he had done to make Abraham act like this.
Jesus, in Matthew 18:15-20 gives us instructions as to how we are to resolve conflicts, and in doing so, Jesus begins by instructing us to go directly to the person and speak to them about what took place with the intention of restoring the relationship that was broken. Abimelek does just that. There is no question that he is upset, but he makes the choice to go and confront Abraham in his sin. How often it is that confessing Christians are unwilling to do what this pagan is willing to do. How often it is that some of the worst back-biters are those who fill the pews of churches on Sunday mornings. How sad it is that confessing Christians so often set a poorer model than do unbelievers when we should be the ones who set the bar for the culture. We who know the love and forgiveness of God should be the first to model that love and forgiveness to the culture.
Loved ones, how is it that you respond to an offense done against you? It matters not whether we are comfortable in doing so, this is the command of Jesus we are talking about! Jesus says that if you love him you will obey him (John 14:15). Obedience forces us into places and situations which will stretch us as they are often God’s tool to sanctify us. Before you gripe and complain about one who has offended you, begin by asking yourself what you might have done to cause the person to offend you (as we see Abimelek doing) and second, ask yourself how you have offended God. As God has forgiven you, forgive the offending brother and go to him in grace seeking to restore him from his sin. They say that blood is thicker than water—the blood of Christ, though, is thicker than all.