ARE YOU YOUR BROTHER’S KEEPER?
Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9). Cain had become the world’s first sociopath-turned-psychopath, having just demonstrated how much he cared for the welfare of others by killing his own brother. It was merely rhetorical question, asked while he was completely under the influence of Satan.
Cain’s talk was devil talk. It goes like this today: “What I do is nobody’s business, but my own;” “If anyone has a problem with what I do, that’s their problem, not mine.” “I’m comfortable with what I’m doing, and that’s all that matters,” etc. Ever heard talk like this from a professed Christian? Such expressions in word and deed are more common now than ever before. Why? Because professed Christian’s are more self-centered and antinomian-minded than they have ever been before.
One of America’s most popular songs is Frank Sinatra’s I Did it My Way. Another is Billy Joel’s My Life, the lyrics of which include: “I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life, Go ahead with your own life, leave mine alone.” These would fit nicely in a “Favorite Songs and Hymns” book for the many antinomian-minded, self-absorbed, narcissist people in churches today who think of responsibility to others in the same way Cain did.
The Bible makes it clear that while many things are “lawful” for us to do, not all of these things are always “expedient” for us to do (1 Cor. 6:12; Eph. 4:29; Rom. 15:2). Philippians 4:9 provides a simple, scriptural rule of thumb: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philipppians 2:4 says, Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others;” The message here — give some serious thought to the impact for good or bad that your words and actions may have on others.
As Christians, we need to be careful not to make grace and our liberty a license to sin. To do so is to create a stumbling block for others: “For you, brethren, have been called unto liberty: only make not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Someone has well said, “The devil has his own secret and subtle stairway into every heart. We may be strong enough to resist some temptation, but it may well be that someone else is not. Something may be no temptation whatever to us, but it may be a violent temptation to someone else. Therefore, in considering whether we will or won’t do anything, we must think not only of its effect on us, but of its effects on others as well.”
Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9). The answer to this question, an answer that should be obvious to every Christian, is, “Yes.” To some degree and in a very real sense I am my brother’s keeper, and as such I must take some responsibility for how my actions and even my attitudes may adversely affect my brethren. The same goes for everybody; especially Christians.