My Brother's Keeper

September 8, 2014
by Marilyn LaPierre

Genesis 4:9 – Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" (NIV)

Are we indeed our brother's keeper? Many may think not, but as in our biological family, we do not survive well unless we help each other.

Many of our brothers and sisters carry loneliness around with them like a blanket. What can we do about that? They are not necessarily people who live alone. People are often lonely while in large crowds, or sometimes, they are those who live in a large family. Loneliness drags one down and wounds the soul. Many people are wishing to find someone who understands what they feel or even to obtain approval from others. A husband and wife are often so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life that they do not have time to communicate. Parents are so busy working, going to meetings, attending sports, etc., that they do not listen to their children and see how much they have learned and what they are really interested in. We don't often have time these days for elderly parents or their slow, thoughtful speech. Sometimes, it seems to take them forever to get their story out.

Unfortunately, we all feel these neglects.

The husband or wife will seek that attention from someone else, or perhaps retreat into a silent world of their own.

Children seek attention from their friends, even if their peers are looking for trouble.

The elderly cry, often wishing for the days when they could go about doing their own thing, or seeking companions to help alleviate this terrible feeling of worthlessness. Sometimes, they wish to die and end the painful feeling of uselessness.

Elderly people have much to give, and if that resource could be captured, it would make a wonderful difference to the younger generation.

Am I guilty of causing others to have these feelings? Of course! We are all human, and we get caught up in the busyness of life, not noticing that others are hurting. What can we do to help? Perhaps, we need to set aside some specific time to look around us and see others who need our attention.

Jesus once said, "The poor you will always have with you" (Matthew 26:11 NIV). Perhaps the same could be said about our schedules — we will always have opportunities to make us busy. We need to make time for the people who are very important in our lives.

I, like many others, have wasted a good deal of time running to and fro and managed to miss out on some of the treasures that were present in my life. My mother is now gone and so is my husband; my children have grown and left the nest. I, myself, have tasted some of the loneliness. I often reflect on days when my mother, my husband, a neighbour, or my children had asked me to stay just for a moment and listen to them talk. It's never too late to start trying to listen more and hear when someone says, "Can't you just stay for a little while?" We can never undo the past, but we can make a conscious effort to be more discerning in the future.

God loves us all very much, and He is always with us. Nothing can take us away from Him. "I have engraved you on the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:16 NIV). God also encourages us to "Feed my sheep" (John 21:17 NIV). Sometimes that means just being there for them when they need us. "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in Your gracious mercy, please make us to be more conscious of our brothers and sisters in this world. May we treat them with kindness and charity of spirit. Thank You for all the graces that You bestow on us. Amen.

About the author:

Marilyn LaPierre <momintoronto46@hotmail.com>
Innisfil, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen! Thank you for this excellent devotional.


    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.


    Never a truer word spoken Marilyn. Such a good reminder.


    Thank you Marilyn, your writing is exactly what I needed to read today. Blessings!


    Thank you for such a practical devotional. It is a good challenge.
    May the Lord inspire you to keep writing.


    Thank you for the very thoughtful and insightful message today. It was ‘very well spoken’!!
    (Ontario)


    Good morning Marilyn:
    Oh how your message touched my heart this morning; thank you so much.
    God bless.


    A beautiful devotional Marilyn, Thank you. Especially pertinent in today’s technologically charged world, where texting is one of the biggest contributors to separating us from each other and creating more loneliness… right in our very presence.


    Good one. I am at the lonely part of life. I try to remind myself to look around for someone who is probably even lonelier and visit them, send them a card, a phone call or an email. I will feel better and so will they. Thank you for the reminder. God bless.


    Hi my dear
    Well you nailed it. I am so guilty of what you have written about, and now I’m in the waiting seat as my family have no time for me either. What goes around comes around as the old saying goes, but Thank God that we are not alone and change and find things to fill up our time such as bible studies, line dancing and aqua fit exercises which I have found to do.


    Wow! That really hits home. You are so right about people suffering terribly from that feeling of worthlessness! The fact that we are slow slow to respond is often due to the “other” lord of our lives … good old “self” who never gives up trying to keep us so busy we can’t think of anyone else. Mea culpa! Thank you for the clarity of your explanation. May our hearts be given over to The Lord more and more completely every day of our lives. God bless.


    Marilyn: You could not have described my past years more accurately. I, having ‘so busily’ served within the health profession, and now my wife’s life as she lingers in a hospital awaiting transfer to a LTC facility.
    Your subject, Marilyn, made me think of “what I had no time for” and my wife now with her periods of loneliness. I wish so many more of a younger generation could read what you have captured as you composed today’s daily Devotion.
    Thank you very much Marilyn, for you made this senior think ‘what could have been’.


    I appreciate your devotional today Marilyn, it has struck a chord with me. Like you I have lost both parents, siblings, and my husband of over 50 years. Through the grace of God I have dealt with these losses very well, However I know the loneliness you speak of especially since my husband passed on.
    I know family members don’t intentionally ignore us, but they do get caught up in their own life and unless they have gone through these separations themselves they do not realize the impact of the loneliness which they have not experienced. I must admit I too have been guilty of not ministering to others as I should.
    Thank you for reminding us that we are our Brother’s Keeper.


    Thanks for your caring message, Marilyn.
    Blessings.


    Dear Marilyn;
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I see myself in that story as well. Amen to your prayer.


    Hi Marilyn,
    I lead a Bible Discussion at our local long term care centre and I also lead the worship service there occasionally. I am so aware of the loneliness some people experience even though they are among a lot of people. After the Bible discussion I always take one lady to her room, she wants to be alone because she is lonely even in the “common room” before they go to lunch. I always take time to talk with her for a while, but there is always the time for me to leave and then she is alone again. She has had a number of roommates over a period of time but not all of them are good company, and she as well as many others are lonely.
    Blessings.


    Marilyn, This is a wonderful devotional and so well phrased and thought provoking. It is so true how many opportunities we missed because we are tired, overworked, selfish, etc.
    I will try to be more conscious of people around me who would benefit from someone who will take the time to listen or just be there and be there. I am sure we would both benefit from reaching out.
    Thank you.


    Marilyn,
    Your message is soul searching and how I wish many could stop chasing the wind and listen. Listen even to those relatives who seem to have little to offer. Such people need our attention.
    Thanks,
    (Cameroon)

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