Am I My Brother's Keeper?
Monday, December 03, 2012
Had a great time in Gatlinburg, TN and a very good Thanksgiving seeing my family--especially my nephew and his new wife and two children. I'm also holding to my weight loss. As I continue toward winter, I am considering what's next since the election. My life needs to shine with the truth of God's Word as I try to keep living within His boundaries, which are full of wisdom. I wrote an article years ago on a free webpage I used to have, and it's time to share it again as I consider my future actions. The truths here even pertain to encouragement about weight loss.
Am I My Brother's Keeper?
That question rings down through the ages, ever since God asked Cain the whereabouts of his brother Abel (Gen 4:9). Cain's response to God's confrontation and subsequent punishment also echoes down through the ages. What was his response? Gen 4:14 says he was still concerned about self.
As we walk the corridors of time, we see God continuing to take issue with Cain's defiant question which was never fully settled on man's side. In fact, God was so concerned about this that when His Son Jesus came to earth, He addressed it:
Matt 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
God further spoke through Paul: Rom 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (KJV)
Looking at the world today, we must ask and answer that same question. If we are to be in obedience to our Lord, we will answer in the affirmative - Yes, Lord, we are our brother's keeper. What our brothers and sisters in Christ do and are going through is to some extent our business.
I have heard it said that some believe that we are to take care of our own and let other families take care of their own. The feeling is that we are butting in if we are concerned for others. While it is true that the Bible says we are not to be busy bodies or gossips, it also says (in Gal 6:1-2), Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (KJV)
In view of this charge and the fact that the Lord says we are to love our neighbor and to do good as we have opportunity especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal 6:10), what we need to be asking ourselves and more importantly God is, "How are we to do this without becoming gossips and busy bodies?"
The beginning of the answer is to realize who we are not. We are not Christian thought police, or our brothers' and sisters' saviors, consciences, or Holy Spirit. We do not have all the answers for them. Some Christians who believe we are our brother's keeper come at it from the wrong angle and end up hurting their brothers and sisters in Christ. This can give care and concern a bad rap.
Next we must realize who we are. We are blood-bought believers who are redeemed from sin. We are those who die daily to sin and selfishness. We are standing on the ground bought by our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are now His bondslaves. We stand carefully, taking heed lest we fall. Keeping all this in mind, we look around us prayerfully, asking our Lord whom we are to "consider to provoke unto love and good works" (Heb 10:24). Once we hear of those whom we should be involved with, we must ask the Lord what, how and when He wants us to do for them.
As we ask, God shows us what He wants to do for them through us. Often it first means lending a listening ear. It can mean building a relationship and praying. It can mean giving of our finances, time, talents... . Eventually it means earning the right to be heard through our compassion. This is where the Scripture comes in: Prov 27:17-Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (KJV)
Friends, there are so many troubles both in the world and the church today, that if we are about the business of our Lord, we will not be islands unto ourselves. We will become involved. We will, however, become involved as servants of Christ rather than as people who know the answers. We will be humble, meek, and compassionate. We will share as we've received (which also means if we've not received from the Lord, we have nothing to give others): 2 Cor 1:3-4 Blessed be God... 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (KJV)
Make no mistake about it. - This kind of compassion will take us into sticky situations, but it will be worth it. God can use us to push back evil as we share His light. The world today still asks with a negative twist, "Am I my brother's keeper?" As God's people answer a loving, resounding "Yes!" and listen to God for ways to implement that answer, the world and the church will have evidence that there is a God who cares.