Treat others as brothers

How being our brother's keeper blesses him—and us.

Are people obligated to each other? Is it our business if we see another person in deep need, on a self-destructive path, or behaving in a way that may cause harm to us or to others? The question of our responsibility hits even closer to home when we feel concern about a family member, a neighbor, or a friend. Under such circumstances we wonder if we're responsible at all—a choice that was faced early on in Biblical history by Cain, the son of Adam and Eve.

In a fit of jealous rage, Cain killed his brother Abel (see Gen. 4). Shortly thereafter, when God inquired as to Abel's whereabouts, Cain impudently met the question with a question of his own: "Am I my brother's keeper?" (verse 9). Cain basically disclaimed any responsibility for his brother's well-being.

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