Perhaps we're still answering Cain's question to God [Genesis, 4:9] and in a vital way for each one of us. To me, we are to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers and to do what we can to assist one another. That's when we experience our human connection and divinity. So I choose to answer, "Yes. I am my brother's and my sister's keeper."
In the eyes of the Lord, all of us are welcomed and celebrated. There is no wayward path because all paths lead back home to God. No matter how any of us may have strayed or wandered, it's not really our concern except that we are called upon to care for one another. Let's put aside what we might hold against our brothers or sisters for what they've said or done. Let's extend ourselves and celebrate our brothers and sisters as our beloveds.
What if your brother or sister just hurt you or stole from you? Why would you want to be their keeper?
Vengeance isn't our level of concern. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord" [Romans 12:19]. God is the ultimate keeper of our brothers and sisters. So whoever might come against us, we can love them regardless. They are still our brothers and sisters. They are loved by God just as we are.
Let's choose to tend to our brothers and sisters in whatever forms they come to us, which may be in ways that aren't on our terms. My brother or sister's needs don't necessarily present themselves to me in ways I want or like. At those times, I discover how willing I am to drop my agenda, let go of any selfishness, and care for them in the best ways I can.
By seeing through the eyes of the Lord, we can love even the least one. Sometimes that least one is the one that confounds us the most. We may find ourselves getting down on our knees and saying, "I don't know how to be this one's keeper, Lord. I can't get along with this one. I'm at your mercy."
It may be an amazing moment when we come into a surrender and confess that we don't know how to be our brother's or sister's keeper. That's a great time to call upon the Lord. Remember that when two or more are gathered in His name, the Lord is in our midst [Matthew 18:20]. At those times, we can experience the Spirit that vibrates in truth and joy. That loving vibration has a way of showing us that everything is of God's glory, even those whom we might call our enemies.
"I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" [Matthew 4:22]. We can see our enemies in the way God sees them, as His beloveds. We can see that our enemies are God's glory brought into our midst in forms we may not recognize, in forms we may doubt, judge or fight. That awareness can be humbling and, at the same time, freeing so we can love one another regardless. Whoever challenges or tests you not to love, remember to love that one, perhaps especially that one. And that one can be you.
Our feelings towards our brothers or sisters aren't truly about anybody or anything against us. Ultimately, our experience of loving our enemies reveals how we are with loving ourselves. Our negative feelings towards our enemies reflect our own upset and the ways we block ourselves from knowing the glory of who we are. We can even be thankful for our enemies as they teach us ways we can love ourselves more fully and completely.
To me, the real assignment in being our brother's keeper is to love ourselves as our own brother or sister. I remind people often to help themselves first before they help their brothers and sisters. Take care of yourself in ways that contribute to you becoming a more happy, healthy, caring, human being. When we take care of ourselves, that enables us to be better keepers of our brothers and sisters.
We can love our brothers and sisters right now. We can love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We can love our enemies. I encourage you to take that to heart, without exception. We all can be more in and of the spirit of who we are. We can be more about loving and caring for one another in the way the Lord loves us. As we choose to love regardless, we can then say in truth, in joy, and with conviction, "Yes. I am my brother's keeper."
Learn more about John Morton at www.theblessings.org. Contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author of The Blessings Already Are and You Are the Blessings, John is the Spiritual Director of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA).