“Am I my brother’s keeper?” — Genesis 4:9
I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Cain and Abel. When I first read it, it seemed so unfair. I mean, at first casual read, it sure looks like God plays favorites. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. Cain’s was rejected. I believe this little partial verse I chose today reveals exactly why Cain’s offering was rejected. He had no love for his brother.
If you and I are going to call ourselves Christians, I believe we must closely examine the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Many, many Christians make the weekly sacrifice of going to church. Many of those same Christians attempt to do good things for God. Even Cain was no stranger to religious activities. Why did he do them? Why do you do them? If I’m completely honest, there have been months, maybe years that I went to church and did religious things because I was afraid to not do them. I thought God might punish me for not going to church, reading my Bible, tithing, etc. I also thought that those things gave me some sort of points in heaven. Maybe, just maybe, I’d be good enough to get into heaven when I died. Maybe, just maybe he would throw down a blessing for me. It isn’t hard to imagine that Cain made his offering with the exact same intent.
Here is where it gets rough. What if I do every religious act I could possibly do for God, yet have no love for my brother? Well, the Bible says it like this, “Whosoever hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15). In other words, we can perform all the religious activity in the world, but if we honestly could not care less about people, we are in no way saved.
As I honestly think about this, there are people that I can’t stand. What is worse, many of these people are my brothers and sisters in Christ. There are people on this planet who do unspeakably evil acts. It is so easy to wish them harm, and even condemn them to hell. There is no prayer offered up for them. There is no fasting and interceding for them. There is no love for them. It has become acceptable to condemn those we consider vile. We so quickly forget that before God came into our lives, we were just as lost and just as vile. Could you imagine doing life without Jesus? That is what so many people are doing right now. Why are we surprised when lost people behave like lost people? They don’t know Him! In fact, many have evil spirits at work in them right now! What are you doing to help? How are you trying to reach them?
Am I my brother’s keeper?
Lord, I confess my heart of Cain. I don’t have Your heart and Your love towards so many! I can’t just turn it on, for I don’t have the capacity to love my enemies. I hate offering prayers for those who despise me. They don’t feel genuine and I know that You know my heart anyway! You know all things! I ask You to give me a heart that truly loves my brother. I don’t want the sacrifices I make to be in vain, Lord. I want to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to love my neighbor as myself. I confess that I don’t know how. As You lead me in this life and guide me for the rest of my days, will You show me and teach me how? I love You, Lord. Thank You for giving Your life for mine. Thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. May I be guided by Him more and more as the days seem to grow darker and darker. Make me more and more like You, Lord. Amen