By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?’” -Genesis 4:9
What do we do when and if we see a friend or family member going down the wrong road? Do we pray, hoping God will change their pathway?
As well, along with prayer do we ask God if there is anything else we can do? Pray comes the easiest to us and is the least confrontational, especially because we can do it silently and privately, without the other person even knowing what we’re doing.
And sometimes, it is the only avenue available to us in helping, especially in situations where the person we’re praying for isn’t open to receiving any other kind of counsel from us.
Courage to Step Out
Still at other times, there are ways we can reach out to lovingly share our heart and concerns with the hope God will speak through our words and actions, to soften hearts.
Yet reaching out is risky and a step we’re sometimes unwilling to take, because it can lead to being rejected and the very real possibility of completely losing our relationship and connection with someone we love.
Yet, look at what James 5:20, reminds us. “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
Some say this is covering of the sinner’s sins, but is it possible it’s referring to covering a multitude of our sins, because we were willing to step out and risk confronting another?
What Does Being A Keeper Mean?
Of course when Cain asked God if he was his brother’s keeper, he was avoiding the truth, his responsibility in the situation, and was attempting to cover-up his own sin. Still he was asking an important question.
God does hold us responsible for keeping an eye on and looking out for each other. In Luke 17:3, Jesus instructs, “So watch yourselves. ‘If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.’”
As well, the Apostle Paul even discusses how our actions in front of our brothers and sisters can be sin, if it leads them astray or weakens their faith. 1 Corinthians 8:12 explains, “When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.”
Yet in today’s Christian culture, the one who questions another’s actions often gets shut down by individuals accusing them of judging others, causing many Christians to look the other way when seeing fellow believers in sin, rather than addressing it with them.
Even in church settings, saying something opens up the possibility of other people getting involved, too, taking sides and ganging up against the person trying to help.
It’s So Much Easier to Look the Other Way
Taking on the responsibility of being a keeper can get very messy very quickly. It’s just so much easier to turn the other way, say a prayer under our breath, and hope for the best.
But what does God require? Is that okay with Him? Does He understand it’s just too complicated, tiring, and time-consuming to address issues with others?
When seeing others falling astray, do we ask ourselves, if that was me, how would I want others to respond? Would I want them to risk reaching out and leading me back on course, or to look the other way and leave me in my sin?
Dear Father, help me to be my sister’s keeper, to care for her like I care for myself. Teach me to walk in Your ways so that I can address issues with those I love, if they start to wander away from You. Lead me in reaching out to them with the purpose of drawing them back to Your arms, for the forgiveness and restoration only You can bring to their lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/DGLimages
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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