Brother’s Keeper?

SOURCE: Homer Putnam Reeves, Gospel Advocate, 1/13/1972.

My Brother’s Keeper

The first murder grew out of religious controversy. Cain slew his brother Abel. God asked, “Where is Abel thy brother?” He responded, “I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).

As a Christian, I am my brother’s keeper. The New Testament makes this crystal clear. Consider some of the divine requirements.

THE CHRISTIAN IS TO LOVE HIS BROTHER. Brotherly love is a badge of life. “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:14-15). “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). “If we love one another, God abideth in us” (verse 12).

THE CHRISTIAN WILL PREFER HIS BROTHER: “In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10).

IN A SPECIAL WAY THE CHRISTIAN WILL WORK GOOD TOWARD HIS BROTHER: “Let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:10).

IF ALIENATION EXISTS, THE CHRISTIAN WILL SEEK RECONCILIATION WITH HIS BROTHER: “If therefore thou art offering thy gift … leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother” (Matthew 5:23).

THE CHRISTIAN WILL SEEK TO RESTORE A FALLEN BROTHER: “Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

THE CHRISTIAN WILL SEEK TO BEAR HIS BROTHER’S BURDENS: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). He will forgive his brother even seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). He will avoid becoming a stumbling block to his brother (1 Corinthians 8:13); he will not wrong his brother (1 Thessalonians 4:6); he will not become the occasion for his brother’s fall (Romans 14:23). No litigation (1 Corinthians 6:1ff).

What a frightful responsibility: trying to keep my brother!