We are our brother’s keeper

Most of us have read the story of the first sibling rivalry, and fight, which ended in a murder when Cain and Abel went at it in a perfect place. Anger turned violent. Anger that exploded. Then the haunting words of Genesis 4:9 “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother’s keeper? “

Cain’s words spoke deeply to the core of the issue. His resentment for his brother’s success made him blind to the need each of us have to care for each other. It is so hard to look back at this event from the ease of the twenty first century and offer arm chair quarterback ideas. But the truth is Cain was blinded by his anger, and his jealousy. Here was his opportunity to do the right thing or not… and he could not get past the sin nature to do what was right.

That passage has dug deep into my soul. I am my brother / sister’s keeper. Yes I am. And so are you. We are on this earth to grow together, to develop family, community, and a place of safety for all. We are there to learn from those who are a few steps farther down the path, and in return to turn back and grab the hand of someone behind us to bring them up. When community works we all benefit. When it breaks down we read the headlines.

So what is being my brother’s keeper anyway? Wow, that can be a million different answers, but at the core it seems to be loving them enough to be there with them, be their strength when they are weak, their cheerleader when they need encouragement, provide that correction when they look like they are heading for the cliff, and be their friend.

If you ask my husband he would say the key component of being my brother’s keeper is accountability – checking in to see how something is going, or praying through that wrestling match over some major life issue. Being willing to be vulnerable and honest with someone takes courage, but it also takes safety – knowing that those intimate thoughts that are barely verbalized are not going anywhere except to God’s ear.

Why am i writing about this? Today we learned of a friend’s troubles. He has been accused of things that are not good. His family are not good at hiding their emotions – it does not look good for him. And the only thing we can do is pray and love the family. But I wonder if someone ever took the time to reach into his life and really love him, correct him, and be his keeper.

Lets pray for him, and his family.

Lord, you are soverign above all, and all power is in your hand. As we bow before your authority I thank you that you have promised you will never leave us, nor forsake us. Remember this man in his time of trial. Bring the truth to the surface, and show your power to keep this family in this dark and challenging hour. We know that there is no place we can go where you are not there. And your word tells us that you have been touched with the pain and grief we feel. Lead on Oh King Jesus, and bring a settling of emotions, and a clarifying of the truth in this situation. Thank you that your love is great, and your character is good. Amen”

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