Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

by Maggie Lasher

“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?'” ~ Genesis 4:9 NIV

In others translations, the reply varies:
“Am I my brother’s guardian?”  NLT
“Cain answered, ‘I don’t know. Is it my job to take care of my brother?’”  NCV

Cain’s response to God’s query shows his lack of concern for his brother.  He had, in fact, just murdered him!  In the wider context, it raises the question whether or not we bear any responsibility for those around us.

Human thinking frequently resembles Cain’s attitude:  “gotta take care of number one”, “me first”, “it’s not hurting anyone so why not?”  Competition in the business world and seeking popularity in the social world shades our thinking into a false belief that we’re not responsible for others.

But Jesus made it crystal clear in His teachings that we ARE our brother’s keeper/guardian:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  ~ Matthew 22:39

Our personal example to our children, family, friends, co-workers, schoolmates, and church family will demonstrate our concern for others.  Do we take care that our behavior models a love for our neighbor, especially that particularly annoying one we try to avoid?  We need to be aware that whatever we are doing, we may well be the example that someone else is looking to emulate.

By claiming our place in God’s family as a beloved child, we indeed become our brother’s keeper!  And as we grow in our faith and commitment to follow Christ, we must set an example worthy of copying.

“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” ~ Titus 2:7 NLT

Lord, cleanse my thoughts of self-centered thinking and help me see Your children through the lens of brotherly love, following the example Your Son Himself set for us. Amen.

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