The words of Cain when confronted by God about his brother’s disappearance (… ‘am I my brother’s keeper’) have always disturbed me. And even nowadays, when I hear these same words being spoken, it stirs up the same reaction within me. It’s also strange that the words we speak today aren’t so different from those spoken back in the day; and I definitely think that the first place I came across the above sentence was in the Bible.
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 (NIV)
However, the angle that I want to take this topic is through Romans 14:12-19, with particular focus on verse 13.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
Romans 14:13 (NIV)
Whilst Cain replied roughly by stating that he was not his brother’s keeper, here the Bible is telling us that we ought to be each other’s keeper. In that if my actions cause others to stumble then I ought to stop those actions. This passage speaks about food however, the passage can be applied to many different things. For example, we can say that if we know that a friend struggles with say, going to bed on time (simple, I know), then as someone trying not to cause others to stumble, be can be our brother’s keeper by making sure that although it may be painful and against our personal interest, that when we meet, regardless of how well the conversation is flowing, we sacrifice and make sure that the conversation ends at a reasonable time so that we can sleep on time. This is also a way of holding each other accountable.
A real-life example for me is that if I know that my friend struggles with say, replying to texts/messages on time, and would prefer to be called rather than messaged, then I make sure that I call that person rather than message them. Is it that it’s more beneficial for me to call? No! I personally prefer messages to calls, but in order to maintain peace and avoid unnecessary misunderstandings, I concede and, in that way, cover my brother. But a lot of times, what I see is that people stubbornly keep to their ways, even if that way is not beneficial. They will refuse to call.
This lets me believe that a lot of time we (myself included) have useless pride. Pride that doesn’t help in any way nor leads to the improvement of our relationships however, we still keep this pride when all it does is puff us up and ruin the things we should be striving to keep. It also makes me wonder why we don’t have the mindset that: if it will keep my relationship, I will call. It may take more from me but as long as the goal (which is to be in contact with that person) is achieved, the method of contact doesn’t matter to me.
To conclude, I hope my ramblings today have made sense (lol!) but I just think that these verses are so important, and I hope we all take the time to read/study them and ponder on them. We need to understand why it is important that we be our brother’s keepers, that we stand up for one another and that we keep peace. A lot of the things we disagree on don’t even matter therefore, why don’t we just drop them? If my brother hates people walking into his room with shoes on, then what’s stopping me form taking off my shoes when I want into his room? But you’ll find that some people will stubbornly disagree when it costs them nothing to respect and keep the peace. Let’s respect and honour one another, let’s put others above ourselves for the Bible lets us know that… ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God’ (Matthew 5:9).
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking,
but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14: 17, 19 (NIV)
That’s all for today folks, remain blessed and be your brother’s keeper.
Keep the light shining! 🙂