Cain was the dominant brother. He wanted to be at the center of things and felt that life revolved around him. He had no problem using others for his own purposes.

Sometimes in the church we say, “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper,” but the care we show turns out to be more of a required duty than an act of love.

Matthew Henry said, “When a person is unconcerned in the affairs of others and takes no care when they have opportunity to prevent hurt—especially in their souls—that person in effect speaks Cain’s language.”

The meaning of keeper is “to guard, watch, protect, and oversee.” Cain killed his brother because of his extreme jealousy towards him, but also because he didn’t want to protect and watch over him. This doesn’t mean that Cain should have covered up for Abel if he was doing wrong or lied to keep him out of trouble. Many times people justify such actions by saying they were only “looking out” for a close friend or relative. We shouldn’t bail people out of situations time and time again. 

Some people think they are being their brother’s keeper by continually giving advice. We are not our brother’s keeper in that sense.

Cain simply didn’t want to be bothered with his brother. He had become calloused toward Abel. We need to make sure that our attitude isn’t the same when it comes to how we treat other people in the church. We need to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, or we join the legions of Cains in this world.

We’re richer when we give and poorer when we keep. – Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder