One of the most thought-provoking questions in the Bible is the one asked by Cain in Genesis 4:9. When the Lord questioned him concerning the brother whom he murdered (Abel), his response was: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”. This is a question we need to ask ourselves today. Do we have a responsibility to watch out for and care for one another? When we turn to the New Testament, it becomes clear that the answer is absolutely.
First, consider our responsibilities to one another. John the apostle wrote “that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one murdered his brother” (1 John 3:10-12). Instead, we are to “love one another, as [Christ] has loved [us]” (John 13:34-35). Since that is true, the question is, how do we express this love? To stimulate our thinking and to help us reexamine how well we are fulfilling our obligations to one another, consider the following questions.
- Do we receive one another into the family of God or ignore one another? (Rom. 15:7).
- Do we edify one another or put stumbling blocks in one another’s way? (Rom. 14:19).
- Do we serve one another in love or expect them to serve us? (Gal. 5:13).
- Do we demonstrate hospitality to one another? (1 Pet. 4:8-10).
- Do we even consider one another? (Heb. 10:24-25).
- Do we exhort one another, just in case there is a hardening by sin, or are we afraid to confront one another, because we are afraid of them running away? (Heb. 3:12-14).
- Are we willing bear one another’s burdens? (Gal. 6:1-2).
- Are we quick to forgive another when another repents? (Eph. 4:31-32).
How we answer these questions may reveal how well or poorly we are fulfilling our responsibility as our brother’s keeper. Living up to the one responsibility to love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34- 35). If we have failed to be our brother’s keeper, we need to repent of our lack of concern, our inactivity, or whatever has hindered us. Confess our shortcomings in this area to God. Resolve to apply with zeal these “one another” passages!