“Am I my brother’s keeper?”
When i first read those words uttered by a very angry Cain in Genesis the idea of being careful or engaged with other people did not seem so important, but as i have grown older it is clear that we cannot do this life alone. We need the strong presence of God in our life, and we need to know we are a part of a greater whole, whether it is a family, a team at the job, a sports team, or a group of people that care for one another.
Am I my brother’s Keeper? I have asked myself that many times. Am I responding to and paying attention to those unspoken hopes of another for a moment of attention or prayer? Am i seeing those subtle changes (depression, stress, etc) that are not typical of my husband, friend, sister, cousin….
Do i take the time to care?
These thoughts have bubbled to the surface of my thoughts again in the wake of that horrific news story of a suburban Cleveland home blowing up, and taking the lives of a couple and their two sweet daughters. Within a day the fire investigators had used the word arson, noting that it was not a natural gas explosion. And today the news announced they are ruling this a murder suicide, with the husband having had history of suicidal idiations.
Was anyone keeping up with this guy? Did someone notice his change in thought and action? Did anyone take the time? Perhaps he was not reachable… but lets just suppose that someone had noticed, and began to take time to care. The outcome could have certainly been much different.
We dont know what is going on in the depth of one another’s mind and heart. But we should at least be building a community that cares, and taking that step to notice. It hurts more to think he was a deacon of his church. No doubt a great church… but i cant help but wonder if anyone really reached out, took the time, walked through those dark recesses of life where it is dirty, scarey, and often painful…. to do soul saving work.
Certainly God was there. Certainly. But with those explosions that blew up that house more than a house blew up…. a community was rocked… family, friends, coworkers, fellow students, fellow church members… and the greater community of people that never knew them… The explosion was heard around the world through the news.
So how do i bring this to a practical purpose?
Here are just afew things i want to say:
- Are you struggling with thoughts that are destructive? Reach out to someone. Your life is far more precious than to consider destroying it.
- Are you living with someone who is struggling? Get help – talk to a counselor, call your pastor, call a friend, reach out….. do it.
- Are you living with grief after such a devistation – find healing in friends, talk it out, get help…. find someone.
- Are you fortunate to not be in those places? Then look around, hug someone, call someone, reach out to those you have not seen around…. check in, develop a closer friendship with people.