Avraham came forward and said, “Will You even obliterate righteous with wicked?” (18:23)
The Alter of Slobodka (Ohr HaTzafun I:259) makes an insightful point here about Avraham Aveinu:
It’s well-known that his dominant character trait was chesed (kindness). We might have imagined that when he’d encounter someone who was diametrically opposed to this value that he would harbor hatred towards that person.
Moreover, we might imagine that if such a person would be sentenced to death, that Avraham would privately feel joy that such a weed would soon be uprooted from Hashem’s world.
Yet the Alter of Slobodka says this wasn’t the case whatsoever!
We see this from Avraham’s course of dealing regarding Sodom. Even though they were an incredibly cruel people, and even though every fiber of their beings went against the chesed that Avraham stood for, he still attempted to save their lives with all of his might.
Though Sodom's continued existence would cause Avraham more pain, and frustrate his life’s work, he lobbied on their behalf, despite the fact that he could ostensibly further Hashem’s agenda much better with these weeds pruned from Hashem’s world!
We again see this ability of Avraham to work tirelessly on behalf of others, even when it seems to run counter to his interests, in the way he “proclaimed the Name of Hashem” to the inhabitants of the Land of Israel (see Genesis 21:33).
The Chasam Sofer (Toras Moshe) notes that the more effective Avraham was in his outreach efforts, the longer it would take for the ‘measure of sin’ of the nations in the Land of Israel to be filled. In turn, this would delay their eventual Divine removal from the Land … and thus further delay the Jewish people’s eventual possession of the Land.
All of this notwithstanding, Avraham did his utmost to influence them towards monotheism and moral living anyway.Unfortunately, we live today in the most contentious of times. We regularly find that so-called leaders seek to vilify and destroy anyone who opposes their point of view in the slightest.This is certainly not what Hashem desires. May the example of Avraham Aveinu demonstrate the proper path upon which we walk in this world.