Our Bundanoon Men’s Shed is an advocate for the health and well-being of its members by providing a safe and happy environment where men can, in the company of other men, pursue hobbies, pastimes and interests, learn new skills, practice and pass on old skills, promote their own and other men’s health and well-being, and by their efforts, benefit their families, their friends, the Shed and their community.
At our last general meeting a member said "I am NOT my brothers keeper"
Where does such a statement come from? Is he right?
Question: "Am I my brother’s keeper?"
Answer: The phrase “my brother’s keeper” occurs in the context of the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-9. After the Lord God had expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience, Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy that God had found Abel’s sacrifice acceptable, but He had rejected Cain’s. After the murder, the Lord, knowing full well what had happened, asked Cain where Abel was. Cain’s response was "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
There is a grain of truth in this brazen lie, despite the surly response Cain offers to the God who created him. While no one is the absolute “keeper” of others in that we are not responsible for everyone’s safety when we are not present, every man is his brother’s keeper in that we are not to commit violent acts against them or allow others to do so if we can prevent it. This sort of “keeping” is something God rightfully demands of everyone, on the grounds of both justice and love. But Cain’s reply indicates a total lack of any kind of feeling for another human being—not to mention the absence of brotherly love—and the overriding presence of the kind of selfishness which kills affection and gives rise to hatred.
So are Christians to be the keepers of other Christians? Yes, in two ways. First we are not to commit acts of violence against one another. This includes violence of the tongue in the form of gossip and “quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (1 Corinthians 12:20). Second, we are to exhibit brotherly love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ with a tender heart and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8). In this way, we “keep” those for whom Christ gave His life.