Cain was expected to look after his brother and killed him. Killed him out of anger, killed him out of jealousy, killed him through ignoring the call of God to deal with his own issues rather than taking it out on his brother.
Whatever you think of the historicity of the episode in scripture, there was something essential to human relations to learn from this. Something essential about whether or not we are our brother’s keeper. Something essential about how we can see the best of humanity rather than just kill it.
Recently I was challenged about being a brother. My friend was caught up in an issue of his own making. Being the church type, this was our opportunity to see if we would bear with him and help restore him. In considering the issue, some talked about the need for my friend to step down from responsibilities because of the disgrace he brought to the church. While they were hammering this point home, it felt like rather than building a brother who had already been knocked down by sin, they were burying him even further. I endeavour not to get angry often, it’s not really in fitting with how I operate anyway, but on this occasion teeth were gritted and fists were clenched with only the thought of Jesus preventing me from saying words that would not necessarily fit in with the encouragement to let brotherly love continue.
The point remained that this was a time to keep a brother, not kill him.
When I reflected on how other ‘older’ brothers were killing younger brothers with wild accusations, derogatory comments, offensive statements and the like, it told me again and rebuked me never to find myself in that position. As someone who has a brother that has stood by me at my worst, never condemning me, but encouraging me in repentance, I know just how serious and crucial it is to be a brother’s keeper.
God help me to look out for my brothers.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden