I Am My Brother's Keeper

by Christopher D. Handy

In Genesis 4:1-9, after Cain had murdered his brother Abel, he then tried to hide his offense from God. God asked Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" Cain replied angrily; "Am I my brother's keeper?"

When Cain responded to God, he knew deep down in his heart that he was his brother's keeper, and knowing that fact, he sought to escape his responsibility. That same selfish spirit still exists in so many of us today. We want to be our brother's keeper, but the hard cold fact is we want to choose our brothers, and we want to determine how we should aid them, according to our will and not God's will.

This mysterious word "brother," which perplexes our society today, means a male sibling born of the same parents, or one who has a common bond with another person. The truth is, if we are in Christ then we are all brothers and sisters, because we share a common bond with each other, which is God our Father. 

Whether we admit it or not and whether we accept it or not; we are our brother's keeper—regardless of race, creed, sex, religion, or any other man-made barriers. We are brothers; and our brother, who is our fellowman, depends on what we do or refrain from doing.

If we were asked this question today, "Am I my brother's keeper?" What would be your reply? We are responsible for our brothers and sisters as Jesus taught us in Luke 10:29-33, the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable compellingly joins spirituality with practical and compassionate initiatives, and demonstrates how we are to serve humanity. This is a fact we must accept if we are to be in Christ.

In other words we as mankind need to show more love and compassion for those brothers and sisters that are outside of our reach and our close-knit circle. This is the only way we will eliminate the hatred, greed, division, violence, racism, sexism, and poverty that exist in our world today. 

It is only through God's Holy Spirit that our eyes can be opened to the needs of our fellowman. It is through the Holy Spirit, which invades our world, who causes us to change and be more responsible to one another's needs. The Holy Spirit works through the events and difficulties of our times to draw our attention to the higher reality of God's continuing presence and power in the world.

How we treat people will reveal God's presence within us, and God working through us. It is the presence of God within us which will enable us to bridge the division between all brothers and sisters. Our invisible God is made visible through our brothers and sisters that are blessed through us. When we become the keeper of humanity, we become slaves to righteousness and doing the will of God from our hearts. This is done by the way we live our lives and how we treat one another.

God has invaded the world and has caused a new world to emerge. This can only happen through us when we reach beyond the world's man-made barriers to our brothers and sisters with loving kindness and genuine compassion. In this we learn that God does more than create, redeem, and sustain us; God gives us incredible joy and endless delight! We have more than righteousness; we have love. More than faithfulness; we have gentleness. More than adequacy; we have generosity. More than truth; we have love.  More than things useful; we have things beautiful. More than riches and success here on earth; we have life with God eternally.  

We are also our brother's keeper by following Jesus' example of daily living. We are to practice being kind to one another. We are to practice hospitality to one another. We are to practice godliness toward one another. We are to comfort one another by practicing humility. The incredible generosity of God leads us gently to believe and to discover that if we follow these examples the best is yet to be. When we live and love like Jesus, live only to do well, willing to love all; we will be living as we should.

We will be our brother's keeper, or we remain the evil one like Cain and waste the greatest opportunity that God has given mankind, which is to unite in true brotherhood. 

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