My Brother’s Keeper

joseph_embraces_brother

TheDiscipleMD

I have attended many weddings over my lifetime and I am always struck by how often the brother of the groom, who is asked to give a toast, tells how he and his brother always fought, or didn’t get along when they were younger. I hear over and over how they had fist fights as kids or some other grim story of their relationship, which now has changed for the better. I always wonder if their relationship has really changed, or are they just saying something nice for the sake of the groom. It is foreign to me; to fight with your brothers. Why would you?

I see in the scriptures that, beginning with the first family, there is an example of a brother whose jealousy, envy and greed towards the other led to wicked and tragic things. The sad saga of brother’s wrath for each other is chronicled throughout not only scripture, but throughout the secular history of the world. Blessed then indeed, I must be, to never have had harsh feelings towards my brothers. For me, it has been the opposite. I have felt wonderful support and encouragement throughout my life from them. I believe they sincerely want the best for me and I know I want the best for them.

In the church we are taught to call one another “Brother” or “Sister”, a practice which is supposed to remind us to treat everyone with love and kindness as we would a family member. But if you can’t love those closest, I wonder how difficult it must be to actually love someone who is no more than an acquaintance. The Savior gave us good counsel when he said:

“…why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6: 41-42)

Of course a “mote” is a speck or particle while a “beam” is a long, or large piece of wood. In other words the Lord was telling us that oft-times we are willing to overlook huge faults in ourselves, but strain at small faults of others.

For various reasons, today I have been  reflecting on the role of brothers. I think it is a wonderful thing to have one. It is truly a great blessing to be one.  I think the Lord intended that all mankind be true brothers. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was Cain’s response to the Lord’s inquiry as to the whereabouts of his brother Able.  The Lord’s reply of, “What hast thou done?” (Genesis 4:10), is a question that all of us will be asked come judgment day. Let us live our lives such that when that day comes we can confidently reply that we have followed the new commandment given by the Savior,  “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)

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