Being your brother’s keeper
You see it everyday. People dressed in rags haunting the same spots on the side of the road, often alone but sometimes with their families. You may be one of the many who quickly turn up their windows and look the other way as the wanderer approaches. You try your best never to engage them and pray that they quickly go away. It may even be rare for you to actually feel the urge to spare a dollar or two. As a human being you may feel torn as to what to do. After all the welfare of these unfortunate people is not your concern. Besides, many of them are even capable of working. Yet as a Christian what is the right thing to do?
According to some local ministers it is our responsibility as Christians, and even just as human beings, to truly be our brother’s keepers. Bishop Solomon Humes, senior pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy, Minnie Street, said that just as Jesus made his disciples realize that their neighbor is not just the person closest to them, we too should recognize that we are all neighbors.
“When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan He asked His disciples’Who is your neighbor?’And just like how they thought of persons close to them most people today only concern themselves with relations or persons they know. They often do not give a helping hand to anyone unfamiliar to them and this should not be,”he said.
“Jesus told us that the poor and those in need will always be among us and it is our responsibility to care for them as we would care for ourselves.”
Pastor Trent Davis, a minister at Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries, agreed that being your brother’s keeper is a major part of truly embracing a Christian lifestyle.
However, Pastor Davis said that this does not mean blindly giving to all who say that they are in need. When it comes to helping our brothers, God gave us the discernment to know who truly needs help from those who are taking advantage of the kindness of strangers. He encourages people to be more open and willing to help their fallen brother and not always assume the worst of them. We all fall on hard times and some fall harder than others which is why we all should be open-minded, he said.
Pastor Gil Maycock, co-senior pastor of Abundant Life Bible Church, similarly felt that while you should be your brother’s keeper, you should not encourage someone to live below the true potential God has for them.
“We are definitely our brother’s keepers and there are many people out there who need help,”he said.”However, it is their responsibility to make a permanent change in their lives. Many churches, including mine, do have programs available to help the needy but that can only go so far. If someone isn’t willing to do better and get the help they need they will not be doing any good for themselves.”
The co-pastor felt that many people feel a dollar here or there is good but it’s just a quick fix. He encourages people to give to organizations they know will assist persons in need and help to guide them to these places.
Maycock felt that most people require a listening ear more than the money people may offer. Get to know these people and why they are where they are. This will help you know how best to help them. He emphasized that the homeless and vagrants are all our brothers, and being the best keeper sometimes means giving them what they need and not what they want.