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Read: Genesis 4:1-15

When God confronted Cain about his missing brother, Abel, God asked “Where is your brother?” Cain gives an answer that we’ve all heard a few times: “Am I my brothers’ keeper?” This story is the source of that famous quote.

I am fascinated that many people use that quote, like Cain did, to try to shirk responsibility. It’s human nature perhaps to try to “pass the buck”. However, the Biblical answer to Cain’s question, “Am I my brothers’ keeper?”, is “Yes!”

The attempt by Cain to deny responsibility for his brother’s well being is challenged by God, Who seems to expect that we do have responsibility for the care and well-being of our “brother”, and sister. We need to listen.

We HAVE some responsibility for the fact that 1 in 6 children in the United States goes hungry at times because of poverty. We bear some responsibility that there are more victims of sexual assault because perpetrators go undetected because of a backlog of thousands of unprocessed “rape kits” that contain DNA that would have taken that criminal off the streets – due to a lack of funding to do the DNA testing. We should work to ensure that in Flint families have safe drinking water, and not risk exposure to lead poisoning. We have responsibility that equal justice and protection under the law is not only the law of the land, but becomes the practice in our land. I could go on, the list is long, you likely have some insights and issues that you are passionate about and would add to this list.

God holds Cain responsible for his brother’s death, we know that. Why is it that we so easily forget that God will hold us responsible for our brother’s and sister’s well-being also? When Jesus says in His great parable in Matthew 25, “What you did not do to the least of these, you did not do to me,” (Mt. 25:45) it is a clear admonition that we cannot ignore the perils, cares and needs of others; that too is gospel, and it’s not going away.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom