Saturday, August 04, 2007

my sister's/brother's keeper

When confronted by God about his brother Abel whom he had killed, Cain, living in his pseudo-reality exclaimed, "Am I my brother's keeper?"

I've heard/read an argument that anwers this, "no". But the weight of Scripture and what God calls us to as his people in an interdependent, interactive relationship of love in communion with God, seems to clearly indicate that we are certainly to be our brother and sister's keeper.

Of course this works both ways. We need to be open to other sisters and brothers helping us as we need it. And we need to be awake and alert to those around us who at least need our prayers as well as our friendship.

Is there an alarm going off in what you see in a brother or sister's life? Don't overreact of course. First pray. And depending on your relationship to that person, proceed in love to be there for them. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Don't judge their heart, yet don't turn a blind eye to what might be destructive for them and others, in their walk in God.

This is tricky territory and not one that lends itself to answer books so that one knows exactly what to do when "A" is happening. This is where we need that dependence on God as well as that interdependence on each other as we proceed to live by faith in the will of God together, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What might you like to add here?

8 comments:

NaNcY said...

i consider that pretty good advice.

tedebg73@yahoo.com said...

Nancy, How is your husband recovering from the work accident?

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

OK - see how this sounds to you:

While I agree that it can be “tricky territory”, it need not be. What is required in most cases is simply an adequate knowledge of both scripture and its application.

We should be able to do this by knowing Christ well, because knowing Him provides all that we need for life and godliness (2Peter1:2,3). We can accomplish this by learning and understanding scripture because it is profitable for learning and practicing what we need to know to do right and for correcting and changing where we are wrong (2Tim3:16), including revealing to us the hidden motives of our own hearts which are deceitfully wicked (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:27; Heb4:12)

Since Gal 6:1 indicates that the proper response for sin is for the person to be corrected and restored by someone who is spiritually mature and capable of walking along side them to restore them with a spirit of gentleness, helping to bear their burdens.

So, my bottom line is – it shouldn’t be tricky territory because we have all the resources needed to become wise and know how to answer any given situation through a thorough know of scripture.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan, All you say I agree with.

At the same time I would say that exactly how we go about it can be tricky; it needs to be from much prayer. And I would add to that that the tricky part I'm referring to is with reference to what we are seeing as well.

The apostle John says that if we see a brother or sister sinning and we pray for them, God will give them life (for those who are not sinning the sin unto death). We must be careful here, because we may see what could end up having been innocent, but if there is that alarm going, then we need to be sure we're there for them at least in prayer.

The fact that we need to be careful, except in cases where a line of God's will clearly has been violated- then we who are led by the Spirit, just as you say, are to restore them with gentleness knowing we are sinners too who could do the same (Galatians 5), just as you say. Then it's no longer tricky, though even then it takes the wisdom found in the love and fear of God in handling that.

So my point on tricky means that we need to be sure we're present for each other, but what we're to do all the time may not be that clear; we need to watch, listen, converse and pray. In that sense we fulfill what Hebrews tells us to do to watch out that no one among us falls into sin in the first place (which refers first to oneself but then also to each other in context, I believe). And that we're to encourage one another as long as it is called Today, lest any of us become hardened and fall into the deceitfulness of sin.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I hope at the same time in this post that I'm not coming across as believing in the idea that we need to be the moral policeman for each other, quick to blow the whistle or have it nearby just in case one of us gets out of line.

But we do need to be watchful and there for each other in love.

Often it's like the white elephant in the living room. Everyone knows it's there, but people like to avoid it or pretend it really isn't. In these cases I think we're called to pray and be there as a friend. But precisely knowing what to say and do in these circumstances requries wisdom from God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I want to add to this (my wife got home late, and we're late getting around though I've been snoozing alot of the evening- ha) that I have "known" what to do before and jumped in and done it, and have been mistaken. Though I would say in the case I'm thinking of I really didn't fufill it according to Galatians 5. But should I have stepped in at that time even with gentleness and not with so much zeal? I'm not sure, though I am sure I should have kept praying and being there for the brother/sister.

I remember J.Oswarld Sanders saying once that he spent much time in prayer before seeking to correct anyone, and that he had learned that the hard way. He was a man of great wisdom, humility and giftedness who I heard speak a number of times and who sat at our table in school and at tables with other students when he was there. He was a president of OMF, formerly China Inland Mission.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Here's something I'll add before I sign off for the night:

Brother's Keeper
Rich Mullins and Beaker
As Recorded on Brother's Keeper

Now the plummer's got a drip in his spigot
The mechanic's got a clank in his car
And the preacher's thinking thoughts that are wicked
And the lover's got a lonely heart
My friends ain't the way I wish they were
They are just the way they are

And I will be my brother's keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won't despise him for his weakness
I won't regard him for his strength
I won't take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will, I will be my brother's keeper

Now this roof has got a few missing shingles
But at least we got ourselves a roof
And they say that she's a fallen angel
I wonder if she recalls when she last flew
There's no point in pointing fingers
Unless you're pointing to the truth

And I will be my brother's keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won't despise him for his weakness
I won't regard him for his strength
I won't take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will, I will be my brother's keeper

I will be my brother's keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won't despise him for his weakness
I won't regard him for his strength
I won't take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will, I will be my brother's keeper

Ted M. Gossard said...

haha, not always a person of few words, eh? Sorry about that. Hope whoever would read this can speed read!