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

As I sat down to write this column, my mind is still on the recent senseless violence and murder that is occurring to young men in our community. I was reminded of this passage of scripture in Genesis as well as a passage in the Gospel according to Luke. I pray that these words written here will encourage all of us to be a part of a solution to end the violence.

In Genesis, the Bible reveals to us that Adam lay with his wife Eve and she became pregnant and gave birth to her first son, Cain. Later, she became pregnant again and gave birth to her second son, Abel. The scripture also reveals that Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd. Cain and Abel gave offerings to the Lord. Abel and his offering were looked upon with favor, but Cain and his offering were not. The Bible says Cain became angry and invited Abel out to the field and it was there that Cain attacked his brother and committed the world’s first murder. Although this was the beginning of strife, division, and murder among brothers, it did not stop there. From Cain and Abel, to Jacob and Esau, to Joseph and his brothers, to Absalom and Ammon and on down through history.

But God has always given humanity hope and a way to stop the violence. That way is Jesus the Christ and his life and teachings. Jesus gave an answer to Cain’s question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In Luke, Chapter 10, beginning at verse 25, Jesus is teaching his disciples and the community. “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength and with all of your mind, and, “Love your neighbor as yourself…” Jesus told the man that he had answered correctly, but this was not enough for him. Perhaps he was like many people are today, he wanted to justify his lack of love for some kinds of people, so he asked “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded by telling the man the Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37.

Space does not allow me to delve deep into the parable in this discourse. However, I believe there are at least three things we can learn about our neighbor and about loving them in this parable: (1) lack of love is easy to justify, even though it is never right; (2) our neighbor is anyone of any race, creed, or social background who is in need; love means acting to meet the person’s needs. I believe we have some young men in the Greenwood community that are in need of the kind of compassion, love and action that the Good Samaritan exhibited in the Gospel according to Luke. There are some young men and families who are traveling down roads of danger and despair. Some have fallen victims to the traps and ambush of sin and are in need of a helping hand to get them healed and on the right road of life.

I believe in these days, God is calling on us to be our brother’s keeper. I believe He’s calling on us to reach out to them through prayer and action. To meet them on the road where they are and to teach them to seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. These things are success and blessings offered by God! God is calling us to teach them that they can do all things through Christ which strengthens! Remember, if you are a Christian, you are your brother’s keeper!

Furman Miller is pastor of Weston Chapel A.M.E. Church in Greenwood and a graduate of Erskine Theological Seminary with a Master’s of Divinity degree. He can be reached at 864-344-3517.