And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
Am I my brothers keeper?
That surely is the question. I don’t mind being my brother’s keeper as long as he acknowledges that I am helping him because I am so wonderful and as long as he does exactly what I tell him. I don’t mind being my brother’s keeper as long as he is grateful for that and tells me and everyone he knows how good I’ve been to him. I don’t mind being my brother’s keeper as long as its convenient.
What about when it’s not so convenient and what about when the recipient of my keeping isn’t so grateful?
The name Abel in the original means breath and the name Cain means possession. Cain was the first born and yet he had an attitude with Abel because it seemed the Lord preferred Abel over Cain. Cain’s attitude progressed downward into hatred and ultimately murder. When Cain killed Abel he killed breath. His sentence was that when he tilled the ground it would not yield its strength to him. The ground received Abel’s blood and refused to give strength to the one responsible for the death.
What an awesome warning. While we may not be guilty of physical murder, we are often guilty of tongue murder. We use our tongue to kill someone else’s reputation, character or testimony because they are different from me, because they aren’t a part of my group or because they rejected what I thought they should do.
When I kill, I am destroying the very thing that would have caused fruitfulness in my life, had I practiced being a keeper of it. The Bible says clearly that the world will know that we are His disciples when we have love one for another. Yet as Christians it often seems that we have more negative to say than unbelievers, particularly if you don’t look like me, think like me or belong to the same group as me.
Cain was the firstborn and therefore felt he was above Abel. That proud thought took Cain down through hatred and into murder and cut off his ability to produce life from the ground. With God’s grace and mercy let us put away the sword of our tongue and assume the responsibility of being our brother’s keeper.