Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Wednesday's Post

March 21, 2012

Who really is our brother’s keeper?

March 21, 2012 —     The outpouring of compassion toward East Kentucky’s tornado victims has been awesome, particularly in this area.

    We’ve seen churches, community organizations, students and just plain folks constantly coming up with creative, thoughtful ways to ease the suffering of those who have lost loved ones and their life’s possessions.

    Some might say that – in typical American fashion – that we have overdone things, that we have gone to excess in trying to be loving and caring of others less fortunate.

    As for me and my family, we stand with those who will help as long as one person remains hungry or homeless.

    Last week I heard someone question if too much money and too many relief supplies were being sent into Morgan and the other affected counties. Was all of it really needed?

    A day before, it was someone complaining about being expected to donate to the Red Cross when everyone knows that national charities pay outrageous salaries to their top executives.

    And another person expressed skepticism as to why some of the field workers of those big organizations drive four-wheel drive vehicles.

    Try as I might, I could not imagine a natural disaster where you wouldn’t need a four-wheel drive truck.

    Then I remembered how I felt recently as I watched a tornado-displaced family gather in a prayer circle on a parking lot to give thanks that none of their loved ones had been killed or injured.

    And they were just as quick to give thanks for loving strangers who had provided food, shelter, clean clothes and a hot shower.

    My wife and I went to a funeral for two of the Morgan County victims, a couple we had known for many years.

    Searching for words to explain the unexplainable, a minister observed that the couple had been married for 70 years and were not separated at death. Somehow, that was a comforting thought.

    Later, while reflecting on what I had seen and heard over a week, I recalled the situation in the Bible when Cain was asked the whereabouts of his murdered brother, Abel.

    He replied:

    “I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    Cain’s sarcastic words have come to symbolize the unwillingness of a few of us to accept any personal responsibility for the welfare of our fellow men.

    The correct response to Cain’s question is written clearly in John 13:34. 

    It goes like this:

    “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that you love one another.”

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