Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

In the early days after sin entered the world, apparently Mankind still interacted with God. Closely. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel still heard directly from Him and knew what He wanted.

Thus, God made His wishes known about the sacrifices Cain and Abel were to give. Cain ignored Him. God then gave Cain His council about the jealousy in his heart, but Cain spurned it. Instead, out of his anger, Cain killed his brother.

Afterward, God came to him and asked a simple question, one that Omniscience already knew the answer to: Where’s your brother, Cain?

His answer was evasive. Am I my brother’s keeper?

As a matter of fact, yes. Cain was his brother’s keeper, and today we Christians are our brothers’ keepers. We ought to have our brothers’ backs. We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. We ought, in short, to love our brothers the way Christ loves us. Or at least the way we love ourselves.

It’s such an easy thing to say — I love my brothers and sisters in Christ — but as James tells us, the proof is in what we do, not what we say we believe.

I’m mindful of two particular areas that make me think we Christians aren’t really understanding what God intended when Jesus said the world would know we are Christians by our love for one another.

In one instance, a well-known Christian pastor has been criticized by groups of Christians, though little of substance has ever been raised against him. Recently another pastor of the same theological persuasion as the critics basically said, there’s nothing in the pastor’s teaching that flies in the face of Scripture.

Oh, the critics come back and say, he may talk a good talk when he’s with someone who believes the Bible, but what’s he saying the rest of the time? After all, there was this one instance when he could have said more, and he didn’t!

May God have mercy on me for not saying more when I could have. May God have mercy on me for not showing the love of Christ as I should. And may I learn from Cain’s sinful attitude and actions to have my fellow Christian’s back rather than speak against him or judge him.

In a similar way, other conversations and observations have made me aware that Christian writers should have each other’s backs too. In so saying, I’m not advocating a “pretend it’s all good” policy. Christian writers shouldn’t rave about books they don’t like or write glowing reviews about novels they know are weak.

However, we can and should speak the truth in love. We can also pray for one other regularly, and we can make room for God to do something through our brothers and sisters in Christ who write that He may not do through me and my work.

As I see it, the church needed Paul, but it also needed Peter. It needed Apollos, but it also needed Priscilla and Aquila.

Why, then, do some seem to think today, that every writer should write in the same way, to the same audience?

Why can’t the writer looking to place his work with a general market publisher pray for and support fellow believers publishing with a Christian house? And vice versa? And all of them pray for the ones who are self-publishing or who are placing their books with a small press?

Why do some writers talk only about their own work and not that of their fellow authors?

Why do some talk against others who approach writing in a different way?

We are, after all, our brother’s keepers. We have an opportunity to show the world a new thing by how we love one another. Not by how we speak against one another or ignore each other.

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