Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Brother's Keeper

My Brother’s Keeper. What exactly does this saying mean? Am I only my brother’s keeper, or does this mean that everyone is on this list? Suppose I don’t want to be my brother’s keeper, or he doesn’t want me to take on this job? Where did this saying come from?


It seems that sibling rivalry isn’t new. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was jealous of Able because GOD favored one boy over the other. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd, GOD apparently liked lamb more than zucchini. Cain killed his brother in a jealous fit and when GOD asked Cain where Abel was, Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

I guess that was the wrong reply to give to the Creator and Cain was banished from his family. I was always bothered by this story. Why would GOD purposely favor one of his creatures over another, knowing that it would cause a rift? This doesn’t sound like something an all-knowing, all-loving, entity would do, and yet, this is one of the stories in Genesis.

GOD did not kill Cain. Although the bible says “An eye for an eye” GOD did not kill Cain. He put a mark on his forehead as a warning to other tribes that they were forbidden to harm Cain. I think this is such an important part of the story. GOD did not kill the man who committed murder. HE wouldn't destroy what he had created. He punished, banished, but HE did not kill Cain. I like this GOD. HE is not the vengeful or unforgiving GOD that we were led to believe HE was. 


The son of GOD came to tear down the old laws with new ones, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus came with a new message and, it shook the very foundations of intolerance. His message: Love your enemies; Love your neighbor as you love yourself; blessed are the poor; take care of the widows; judge not, or you’ll be judged. This was radical thinking that went against the plans of the powerful people of his time and for this act of reason, Jesus was crucified. His message survived.


Our world is on the brink of change. Many of the rich and powerful are behaving badly. Corporations are creating working conditions that are harming their workers and stripping away benefits that workers have legally earned. Insurance companies are refusing to pay for health care even after people have paid a pretty penny for the protection. We have Senators who want to end programs that help the poor, especially poor children. Corporations use loopholes in the law to destroy the environment causing a global catastrophe. And yet, they will use the name of GOD to control others who think differently than they do. Shameful!
GOD was never about religion, but he did give examples of how we should behave. I don’t believe in organized religion, but I do believe in GOD. So when I hear the candidates claiming that we are not our brother’s keepers, I laugh. They are fools.
We all live on this blue marble called Earth. Until we can go to other planets, we are stuck here. So, let’s take care of what we have. We are all one race; human. We will not survive if we don’t work together. We need to get over our differences. It doesn’t matter what color, country of birth, financial status or sex you are. All are equal on this planet. All are entitled to live and work productively for the betterment of the human race. To achieve this status, we must be accountable to each other. We must protect each other. But does this mean we should support the slothful and lazy people who would rather suck us dry. NO! Charity works best when you give the person who needs help, pride in themselves. Everyone has to work. No freeloaders! Yes, we are each other’s keeper, but to survive we have to be givers and not takers.

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