Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9
The story of Cain murdering his brother Abel is punctuated by this memorable exchange between God and Cain. Knowing of Abel’s murder, God asked the offending brother for the whereabouts of Abel. Cain’s dismissive response indicated that he believed he was not responsible for keeping track of his brother. The comment is nearly as callous and unfeeling as the murder itself—and it is a sentiment many of us share. We do not feel responsible for keeping tabs on other people. We say, “I’ll do my thing, you do your thing, and let’s just keep out of each other’s way.”
This story indicates, however, that we should not only refrain from harming others but we should also take a deep interest in them. Even people with which we are at odds, warrant our care and attention. God sees all of us as a single family unit; therefore, we are beholden to take care of and keep an eye out for one another. A touching reminder of this kind of familial care is the protection that God promised to afford Cain even after Cain’s egregious act. God marked Cain as a means of taking care of him. Should we be our brothers’ and sisters’ caretakers? Yes!
Who should you be keeping track of?
Lord, I would really like to limit my involvement with certain people. If I am to be honest, the people I would like the most distance from are often those with whom I live at rather close range—my family. But You remind me of my responsibility to care for and keep track of the people around me. If You are my keeper, then I should be responding to that grace by taking care of others. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.