Who am I to my brother?
From what does my attitude to another arise: from the one who he is, or from the one who I am?
Once I happened to take part in a meeting at a large industrial enterprise. One of the topics that went up there was the discontent of production workers with their wages – compared to the salaries of the commercial department. And there was one phrase that cut my ears tight: "Well, what to do … who studied what …". I didn’t even understand right away what was wrong with her. Why does it feel erroneous, delusion? Indeed, one has learned one profession, the other a different one, one profession is more in demand in the market, the other less. All this is understandable, on the surface lies. What is wrong?
Again and again I came across similar statements: “so who is to blame here …?”, “He decided so …”, “but there was nothing …”, “rightly so …”. Again and again, these words evoked a feeling of rejection, even rejection. Although logically all the arguments seemed quite reasonable. Until, finally, I came across a phrase that summarized everything said: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
What can we see in this excuse? We can see how Cain describes his relationship with Abel. They are no longer not only fraternal, but generally “none”. “I’m not even a watchman for him, I don’t even take on this role, so what to ask of me different?” “What have you done? The Lord asks Cain, “look where this attitude has led you.” A terrible thing happened. And this terrible had its own premise. And until it came to action – to the murder of Abel, there was nothing to blame. And after that, it was already too late to blame.
There is the Ukrainian word “rozbrat” that fits perfectly here – breaking fraternal ties. Which in itself is not scary yet, but a harbinger of scary. A harbinger by which we can learn and still have the opportunity to prevent the irreparable, to prevent the misfortune that happens when we stop holding this, perhaps the most important role in human relations – the fraternal role.
What for us is this familiar treatment from the pulpit of “brothers and sisters”? Have I thought about these words? Is my sister standing next to me in the queue for the Chalice, or is it a message of the same sort as “girl, pass on a ticket” on a tram to a woman of an undetermined age?
I manage to explain to myself: how, why and why all people are brothers. I manage to find confirmation in the Bible, for example, in the Gospel of Matthew 12:50: "for whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven will be His brother and sister and mother." That is, all Christians are brothers among themselves through Christ. But I understand very well how this idea itself may seem unusual, and to some people it’s probably absurd, obviously not applicable in practice.
And yet I find it necessary to lift it again and again. In the beginning is the word. And this is definitely the space of my choice: to ask myself: who am I to my neighbor now, who am I to my brother? So that “enemies” cease to be “enemies”, “enemies” – “enemies”, “nobody” – “nobody”. And for starters, they began to be “lost” (who is not “lost”?), But nevertheless by all means “brothers”.
To make the worst happen less. So that Cain does not kill Abel. At least in me.
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