Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

In 1928, a very interesting case came before the courts in Massachusetts. It concerned a man who had been walking on a boat dock when suddenly he tripped over a rope and fell into the cold, deep water of an ocean bay. He came up sputtering and yelling for help and then sank again, obviously in trouble. His friends were too far away to get to him, but only a few yards away, on another dock, was a young man sprawled on a deck chair, sunbathing. The desperate man shouted, “Help, I can't swim!” The young man, an excellent swimmer, only turned his head to watch as the man floundered in the water, sank, came up sputtering in total panic, and then disappeared forever.

The family of the drowned man was so upset by that display of callous indifference that they sued the sunbather. They lost. The court reluctantly ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility whatever to try and save the other man's life. In effect, the law agrees with Cain’s presupposition: I am not my brother's keeper, and I have every legal right to mind my own business and to refuse to become involved.

When we find ourselves at ease and in serene comfort and realize someone is drowning in sin, ask yourself the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper.” All any of us have to do is observe. Do we know our next door neighbor? You know the one. They are the one with a nice family who never darken the door of a church building. They take their children to the amusement parks, to the lake, or just sleep in on the Lord’s Day. They are in dangerous waters without the means of recovery.

We sing, “Throw out the lifeline” with four part harmony and hopefully from our hearts. All the Lord expects of each of us is that first effort to save a lost and dying soul. Which attitude do we have -- that of Cain or that of the Lord. The Lord’s attitude is, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 17:10). Don’t let a single soul die in the murky waters of sin with making an effort to save them. - Selected and modified

Back to Bulletin Fodder