Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Well, Am I?

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

Cain’s response to God reveals a lot here about his heart and attitude and should cause many of us to test our own attitudes and actions in this generation. You see, Abel had just pleased God by his obedience in his offering of what God required. Cain on the other hand, brought what he thought was acceptable to God for an offering. A work of his own hands. Because God rejects that which is born out of the pride of man and what man thinks is best, Cain lets jealousy and anger take over. Isn’t that always the response of pride? I have no doubt Cain begins to compare Abel’s obedient walk with God to his own. The “he thinks he’s so holier than thou” attitude creeps in, I’m sure. He decides to confront his brother Abel in a field and the outcome is, he murders him there.

God of course sees this all and comes to confront Cain, because the sin that was crouching at his door has now come in to visit. In spite of God being willing to let Cain speak and confess, (Genesis 4:10), Cain’s attitude was, who am I to worry about my brother. Not my business, not my problem. Am I his keeper? Do we carry that same attitude in our hearts today within the Church? The attitude of, “don’t point out my sins” because that makes me feel negative about myself. It makes me feel like my choices don’t please God. The thought process of, how can I tear down my brother or sister with my words or my actions if their obedience to the LORD convicts me. You see Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

If we understand God’s command to love your neighbor as yourself, then we realize, we are our brother’s keeper. Not that we are his Holy Spirit. It’s the LORD that will do the convicting. But we are the ones who should be caring about their well being. Caring about if what they’re doing is separating them from the LORD and leading them towards destruction. Pointing them back to what is right in the eyes of the LORD by the way we live our lives and by encouraging them to do what is right. That’s exactly what Abel’s life was testifying to and it convicted Cain. So much so, that Cain decided the best way to handle his emotions and his feeling of worthlessness and rejection, was to attack his brother and to get rid of him.

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.  Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.  We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:11-18)

Are we taking the way of Cain? Scripture tells us in Matthew 10:21-22 that we will revisit the spirit of Cain. May we not take the way of Cain, but instead love our neighbor deeply, so that we desire to be our brother’s keeper. Then even in the midst of the attacks from our brother’s, we who are in Christ can stand firm until the end, because we have come to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Why? Because HE is the perfect offering brought to God that was foreshadowed on that day! He is His brother’s keeper, because He keeps us in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.

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