Genesis 4 tells us about Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain became angry with his brother Abel and ended up committing the first recorded murder in history. He killed his brother. In verse 9 we are told that God asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain’s response was, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Ultimately God punished Cain for his sin.
Whether we want to admit it or not many of us ask the same question. Am I my brother’s keeper?
There is a bait in Christianity to have a lone ranger mindset. Instead of being involved in the body of Christ it is far too easy to isolate oneself. After all, my relationship with Christ is just between me and God isn’t it?
The reality of the matter is that we are commanded to be a part of the body of Christ.
For years I struggled with this command and wondered why it is so important to be involved in a church.
I believe that the reason so many of us are confused by this is because we have the wrong mindset toward the body of Christ. We think that it is all about us.
If the body of Christ is all about you and you are being hurt by it and feel that you would be safer at home it would make sense to just stay home. Likewise if the body of Christ is all about you and you are not being fed and feel that you could do a better job feeding yourself it would make sense to feed yourself rather than to waste time going to church?
Here is the key. The body of Christ is not about you.
Recently I was attending a Bible College and my professor made an interesting statement. In essence he said that we, the student body, think of that school as a place of peace but in reality it is a place of tension. It is a place that draws us to a position of devotion to Jesus, holds us in a position of devotion to Jesus and when we stray from that position it is a place that draws us back to a position of devotion to Jesus.
That statement got me thinking. My professor was right. That is what that Bible College did and that was why I loved it so much. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that that is not just the role of a Bible School but it is the role of churches, families and ultimately every believer.
Hebrews 3:12-14 says, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”
We are to exhort one another daily lest any of our fellow believers be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
The body of Christ is not about you. It is about you pushing your fellow believers to Jesus. You ought to be that place of tension in your fellow believers lives that draws them to devotion to Jesus, holds them in that position of devotion to Jesus and draws them back if and when they become distracted.
We are commanded to be in the body of Christ not for our own sake but for the sake of the believers around us.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
This is what God intended for the body of Christ. He did not intend for us to look out for our own good but rather for us to come together with the intention of serving one another.
We have an enemy who is prowling around looking for someone to destroy. He desires to mislead and overpower us. The body of Christ, working as God intended it to work is our best defense against him. If one of us falls the rest can help him up. If one is being attacked the rest can stand with him and together they can overcome.
Am I my brother’s keeper? This question followed the very first act of murder. Rather than standing with his brother to aid and protect him as God had intended, Cain killed his brother. Many in the church today are asking the same question because we, like Cain, do not want to take responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is sad and dangerous. At some point every believer, no matter how mature will grow weary, distracted or discouraged. This is why we are commanded to be actively engaged in the body of Christ, exhorting and encouraging one another on in Christ.
Yes, we are our brother’s keepers. When a brother or sister falls may we be there to pick them up.