One of the oldest questions known to man was asked by Cain. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
We remember the story. Adam and Eve had two sons and each son gave an offering to the Lord. Cain offered from the fruit of the ground and Abel from his flocks. Cain’s offering was not in faith, whereas Abel’s was.
Cain hated his brother because his offering was rejected by God but Abel’s was accepted. Hatred led to jealousy and jealousy led to Cain murdering his brother. When God asked, “Where is Abel, thy brother?” Cain’s response was, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Are we our brother’s keeper? Let us see what the Bible says: John states emphatically that “this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3.11).
Peter says the same thing in these words: “be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren” (1 Peter 3.8).
Paul mentions “brotherly love” in Romans 12.10 and Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13.34). With great authority He said in John 15.12, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another.” We are our brother’s keeper because we are to love one another.
We are also our brother’s keeper because we are to give ourselves to others. In Matthew 25, Jesus gives us a partial picture of the great judgment scene. In the judgment a division will be made between those who complied with Jesus’ commands and those who did not. Those who accepted the responsibility of keeping their brothers: fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, took in strangers, etc. Likewise, those who were not concerned with their brothers did not. It is our God-given charge to give ourselves to others.
These words of Christ cannot be ignored. Paul offers further proof of this when he writes to the brethren in Galatia saying, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6.10).
Are we our brother’s keeper? Yes. Also, we are our brother’s keeper because we take no account of evil.
From the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.5 to the writing of James in James 5.20 the Bible is consistent in saying that Christians do not hunt faults, we cover them. Peter also addresses this need by saying, “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4.8).
Fervent love, as Peter mentions, is a love that seeks the betterment of others over the fulfillment of self. This love counteracts human nature, which magnifies the sin of others in order to minimize the sins of self.
So, you see, we are our brother’s keeper if we have given ourselves to the Lord.