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Who Is My Brother's Keeper?

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Who is my brother’s keeper? Cain made this remark to God many years ago. Many years later, President Herbert Hoover stated: “The day when we decide that the Government is our brother’s keeper, that is the day the spirit of compassion has been lost.” God’s charitable purposes through the Church have being crowded out by a dependence on secular government to find solutions for the needy. This has resulted in many local churches not carrying out this intended church function, and because many professing Christians are more influenced by political ideology than the scriptures, they hold the poor in derision. The Bible says:


Acts 20:35 - I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Proverbs 22:9 - He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Luke 14:12-14 - Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 - If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Luke 3:11 - He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Proverbs 14:31 - He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. James 1:27 - Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.


President Hoover stated the following in his radio address to the nation on October the 18th in 1931:


Our country and the world are today involved in more than a financial crisis. We are faced with the primary question of human relations, which reaches to the very depths of organized society and to the very depths of human conscience. This civilization and this great complex, which we call American life, is builded and can alone survive upon the translation into individual action of that fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior 19 centuries ago. Part of our national suffering today is from failure to observe these primary yet inexorable laws of human relationship. Modern society cannot survive with the defense of Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?" No governmental action, no economic doctrine, no economic plan or project can replace that God-imposed responsibility of the individual man and woman to their neighbors. That is a vital part of the very soul of a people. If we shall gain in this spirit from this painful time, we shall have created a greater and more glorious America. The trial of it is here now. It is a trial of the heart and the conscience, of individual men and women.”


God has called upon Christians, and the Church corporately, to love their neighbors, to have mercy on the poor, and to give to the needy. In a nation steeped in governmental welfarism, many Christians are disregarding God’s instructions to help the poor, and instead are using resources for unnecessary and frivolous purposes, while the poor are missing out on God’s benevolent purposes through the Church. Furthermore, why should Christians support the government’s appropriation of a person’s wages to strangers without his consent? Just as murder is still murder even if it is state sponsored, so theft is still theft, even if it is state sponsored.


Christians should strive to do God’s work in God’s way. True Christian charity rescues people from the streets, delivers hope, restores families, and helps people get back to work. People need more than a handout that they can get from a government program - they need to know that someone cares. Churches must obey God’s instructions to assist the poor, the sick, the heartbroken, and the outcast.


“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

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