Written by Evi Idoghor
We may all be familiar with this question and its accompanying answer from the Bible in Genesis 4:9 when God asked Cain "Cain where is Abel your brother? Cain replied, "I do not know, am I my brother's keeper?" I have heard this phrase "am I my brother's keeper?" used countless times by a lot of people, my self inclusive. The phrase is used as if to say, am I responsible for anyone other than myself?
I once worked with some of the most amazing kids on the planet who challenged this mindset—this way of thinking. I pulled so much out of their well of wisdom in the little time I spent with them. They were all so unique in their own right and brought different qualities to the table. At the time, if one of them was absent from school, their absence was enormously felt. They all had to be there for my day at school to feel complete.
One day, some of the kids scattered the puzzle they were piecing together because they had to leave the classroom. The youngest boy who was four years old didn't want them to mess up the puzzle; he planned to get back to it later. However, the kids paid him no mind and messed it up. He started crying hysterically.
Another boy who was about a year older than him came up to him, hugged him, wiped his tears, and held him until he stopped sobbing, assuring him that it was going to be okay. I was blown away by his kindness.
The way they care for each other is something that is unimaginable. The older ones usually got their work done in time so they could help out the younger ones. They helped with feeding them, copying their class notes, and packing up their books when school was out for the day. In fact, they argued about who was going to help who out with all of them vying for the sacrosanct position. It was impressive to watch.
It got me thinking if this was the plan God had in mind for His creation all along. A world where people don't just look out for themselves, but also look out for their neighbor. A world where we fight to help each other rather than put each other down. A world where we make sure the other person gets their work done, and work so efficiently to get ours done on time so we can help those lagging behind.
A world where we care if others can feed or clothe themselves. What a world that will be. In the book of Matthew chapter 18 (NKJV), the disciples of Jesus came to Him asking who the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is. Jesus before He responds in verse two calls a little child and sets him in the midst of them saying “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
How To Become Your Brother's Keeper
As I watched those little kids, they didn't have a care in the world. They just wanted to help themselves and get to the next level together. Usually, when one of them walked into class, they began to cheer them on, calling out their name (as the audience of The Wendy William show do for Wendy), and then they concluded their cheer-leading by giving their classmate who just walked in a hug. I watched as a child who arrived at school with a straight face, subsequently turn their frown to a face full of smiles, because of the warm welcome they received from their peers.
Although occasionally followed with "you are not my friend, and I don't want to play with you" because news flash, they are kids, yet that doesn't deter from the love they have for each other.
They might be upset with their classmate for a second, but then it goes away immediately when someone says something funny, or a teacher intervenes, and apologies are given. In a way God wants us to adopt the mindsets of little children. He doesn't want us to lose our innocence as we get older, just like the children I once worked with, He wants us to create a bond with ourselves that cannot be broken easily.
"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interest of others." (Philippians 2:4)
In the world we live in today, many people want to rise to the top just for their selfish gain. They don't care who they step on or tear down in the process. It's all about what I can do for myself when I get to the top. It's a dog eat dog mentality that a lot of people possess. Just take a second and imagine a work environment that encourages everyone to thrive, where everyone is looking out for each other like these children did and cheering on their colleagues when they see them having a hard time.
People will look forward to going to work each day and will perform at their best. I wasn't even these children's peer, however, I looked forward to going to work just to catch a glimpse of their lives.
A little story to bring to drive my point home
One day on my way out, I stopped over at my cousin's house to pick him up. While still waiting for him to come out of the house, I stepped down from the driver's seat and made my way to the passenger's side of the car (because I didn't want to keep driving ). I noticed that there was a guy on the side of the road, but I paid no attention to him.
After a few minutes of me getting back into the car, he came to knock on my window with me already being defensive thinking "what do you want?!" I wound down, and he said "don't be upset but check the back of your trousers," and he left. That was when I realized my pants had ripped and my whole back area was exposed. I wanted the ground to split open to swallow me and my pride.
I was not only ashamed of the fact that my pants were torn and this guy saw my underwear, but also because I was defensive when he came to knock on my window. Luckily for me, I had a pair of jeans in my car, and I quickly changed. Despite my embarrassment, I was thankful that a stranger, a man, looked out for me. He was his sister’s keeper.