I am not a good negotiator.
Maybe it’s because haggling isn’t regularly practiced where I live or because I am quick to accept a price given to me. I hear friends share stories about their purchases and how they talked their way into a hefty discount but in reality, I suspect that the “discount” is the price the merchant already had set in their mind. That fifteen percent savings was already in their books, planned from the beginning. You just have to ask for it. (See Luke 11:10.)
In Genesis Chapter 18, we find Abraham haggling with God for the safety of the innocent in Sodom. He starts high and works his way down, while seemingly schmoozing God along the way. It’s almost arrogant and yet each time Abraham asks God to lower the amount, He does. At a glance, this passage might paint an incorrect picture of a blasé God, willing to bend His will if you say the right words at the right time with the right flair.
I don’t know about you, but in my experience, that’s not how God works.
But what if the story is instead meant to articulate God’s vast love for His people? God’s omnipotence means He already knew the fate of Sodom and yet we find Him repetitively affirming Abraham’s requests to love its people. Would you spare 50? 45? 40? 30? 20? 10? And each time, God responds “yes” to Abraham, and each response grows in tenderness. “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it” (Genesis 18:32).
These answers do not speak to Abraham’s negotiating abilities but rather to the immense love of the Father Who I imagine would continue to answer in the same way even if Abraham’s numbers dwindled down to the question of merely 1. What if there is only one person?
Or even further, what if it’s only me, Lord?
And in taking this question to prayer, I find a sense of peaceful feeling deep within that the answer is another, even gentler, “Yes, my daughter, even if it was only you.”
Do you already know about Jesus' revelation of His Divine Mercy? Find out the background to the message here.
Sarah Rose is a small town Ohio girl who is obsessed with all things Ignatian and is passionate about faith, social justice, and the intersection of the two. She left Ohio in 2012 and after a year of service in rural Alaska, earning her Master of Divinity in California, and working at a Connecticut High School, is officially back in Ohio serving as a university Newman Campus Minister. When she’s not working, she enjoys contagious laughter, clever puns, and finding the good in all things. You can find out more about her here.