Am I my brother's keeper?

With all the turmoil, tension, unrest and fearful living going on today, I often ask myself; Am I my brothers keeper? Do I have to be concerned about the person who smells differently because he hasn’t taken a bath in a few weeks? Do I really have to be concerned about a person who has different skin color than I do? Or speaks a different language or who believes God doesn’t exist or has a different religious belief than I do?Well, yeah, I do, and so do you!

Am I my brothers keeper? Yes, I am! And, so are you! Not from the standpoint that as a keeper, like at a zoo, where you feed and care for the animals and they learn to do nothing. But, if we say that God is the creator and that there is only one race — the human race — albeit with different colors, then we are saying that with God as the creator we are all of the same family. And in that sense, I cannot be an isolationist, but a brother to me fellow human beings. Brothers don’t always agree and sometimes fight among themselves but they don’t kill, rape or steal from their siblings.

Now, I’m not advocating a one-world concept, far from it; but I am stating that God created all that exists. As clarification of where I’m going with this, here is an example. In a forest there are many different kinds of foliage – trees, plants and flowers. They live together providing shade, beauty and even nutrients for each other. Like a forest, our world contains people of many different nationalities and ethnic origins; yet, we are of one forest that is one family, which is the creation of God. In that sense we must live as one race, the creation of God our Father.

In that sense I am by brother’s keeper. NOT in the sense of becoming a slave to another but of respecting the person who may look, think or act differently as still being my brother. Differentness ought not to correlate with disrespect of their person or disinterest on their needs. But, our Lord did say that we are to treat each other as we would like to be treated. That is one of my goals in life; but I’m also realistic enough to realize that I am not strong enough to always act in that light and I suggest that you aren’t either. This is where grace, forgiveness and the guidance of God enters.

You see, often the temptation is to treat another not as I would like to be treated but as they have already treated me. However, if I let another define me and how I am to treat them then I am nothing but a carbon copy of them. Perhaps another way to look at is that since God created life and humans are part of life and since God specifically created humans, to have fellowship with him, then the way I treat others is also the way I treat God.

Part of the prayer our Lord taught us is: “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” That is a goal. Realistically I know I will not be as forgiving of others as Gods’ forgiveness is of them and me. You see if God treated and forgave me as I have forgiven and treated others, then God’s forgiveness would be pretty shabby and I would be in a world of hurt. This is where forgiveness enters. So, am I my brothers keeper? Yeah! I am! Because you and I are brothers and sisters together with God being our father. So — have a great day, a great life.

Randy Middleton