My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is being your brother’s keeper.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” No.
I don’t know if that’s actually right or not. I could be wrong. But the way I see it, no, we’re not. We are certainly to help our “brothers” out and be encouraging and be positive influences and role models, love them, etc. But ultimately we can’t be responsible for that they do.
I had a friend a few years ago who was going through a particularly rough time, and occasionally when it seemed like he was about to make a bad decision I would ask, “uh, do you think that’s healthy?” He’d listen to my point, make up his own mind, and sometimes listen, sometimes not, sometimes the thing I thought wasn’t a good idea actually wasn’t and he’d admit “yeah, shouldn’t have done that,” and other times I was wrong and what I perceived to be an unhealthy thing was actually OK.
I spoke up, out of concern, but then my friend ultimately made his own decision.
I run into this with the boys a good bit where Finn, being the oldest, knows better and wants to help Caden. But Caden being “the baby” of the family, wants to do everything all by himself, including make mistakes. I’ve had to tell Finn, you’re going to have to back off and let Caden make his decision and then let him be accountable for his decision and Finn be accountable for his.
And that’s the thing about “brother’s keeper.” We can encourage and pray and talk to and listen to and be there for, etc. our family and friends, but ultimately they are the ones accountable for what they do. It is not our job to “keep” them but to lift them up in thoughts and prayers, to be an encouragement to them any way we can. Ultimately though, we all our own “keeper.”