“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” —- Ezekiel 16:49-50
Many Christians use God’s destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as described in Genesis 19:1-29 as a reason to condemn homosexuals for their “wicked and perverse lifestyle.” There is little doubt that a great deal of what the Bible describes as immoral and decadent behavior was going on in these two cities, yet homosexuality alone was not why God “took them away.” If this were the case, God would have destroyed every city because homosexual activity has no doubt occurred in all parts of the Earth. According to Scripture, the stated reason for the two cities destruction was because of their haughtiness, pride, and total lack of empathy for the poor and needy. In other words, they shrugged and only cared about themselves.
The events of Sodom and Gomorrah appear to be alarmingly similar to what we see in our society today. Our Lord Jesus in Matthew 24 verse 12 described what would be the signs of His second presence and the end of the world [age] among which are troublesome events throughout the world consisting of wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilence, and overall travail. It is our Lord’s words in verse 12 that have inspired this article. (Mat 24:12) “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Over the past eighty years with the dawn of radio and television and now the internet, the masses are subjected to hours of negative information and opinion involving human events from all around the globe. While sitting in our living rooms and at our computers we see the things described in Matthew 24 almost as they occur. The frequency of terrible incidents have numbed many of us to the great tragedies at hand, while many others stick their heads in the sand and pretend that since it isn’t happening to them it’s not happening. We are not judging anyone because we are all guilty of this in one way or another.
Am I My Brother’s Keeper? – Genesis 4:9
Following the world’s first murder when the unrighteous Cain took the life of his righteous brother, Abel, God reached out to Cain asking him where was his brother. Cain figuratively shrugged and replied “I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain was not only lying to God but was showing a great amount of haughtiness and lack of contrition for his act. Today, more and more members of the fallen and sinful race have taken on this spirit of Cain.
Everyone has heard an uncaring person utter the phrase “that’s their problem” when discussing someone else’s misfortune. As time has gone on, we are seeing a greater sense of callous attitude from one to the other. It comes to mind an incident a few years ago when three teenagers stood on the bank of a Florida lake watching, laughing and joking, as a mentally handicapped man drowned pleading for help. They even took a video of the incident. Their total lack of empathy greatly enraged most of us, but instead some were coming up with justifications for their behavior. What have we become?
Social media has exposed this lack of humanity that may have always been present but it is never the less appalling. Cyber bullying has brought awareness to this problem especially among young people, where tragically children have been driven to suicide after being bullied online. The anonymity of the internet has made people reveal what is truly in their hearts.
There are people who are known to rail about those “lazy homeless people” often dismissing the problem with “why don’t they just get a job?” ignoring the monumental obstacles in that individual’s way. For example, mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, or simply the lack of a family that can offer help. Never mind that to apply for a job requires clean business attire, a place to shower, having a well made resume, and reliable transportation let alone having access to a computer because many jobs require one to apply online first. While there are organizations that make a wonderful attempt to alleviate these problems, the need far outweighs the resources. People who truly don’t care, ease their conscience by throwing out simple solutions to this incredibly complicated problem.
Who Is “My Brother”?
During His Earthly ministry, Jesus was followed by large multitudes of people. We are told in Matthew 12:46-50 that out Lord had natural brothers and sisters and at one event some of them, along with His mother, Mary, were standing outside desiring to see Him. Jesus replied, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” Jesus then pointed to the people following Him and said “here is my mother and here are my brothers.” The Lord was saying that His true followers walking in His footsteps were His true family. These were the ones trying in every way to do the will of the Father in Heaven. Given this we ask, who is your brother? Is it only your natural family? Is it only those you like and agree with you? Is it only those that you approve of and who reciprocate? Or are we truly to be a family of man, that ALL are brothers and sisters to one another.
We need look no further than the current pandemic involving Covid-19 to emphasis that many do not feel they are their brother’s keeper. The degree of selfishness and overall disregard for the safety of others has been truly astounding. As we write, this virus has killed over 1.6 million people world-wide, with more than 175,000 in the USA. Close to 6,000,000 people have been infected. Government officials, state and local, have attempted to protect the public by issuing proven safety measures such as social distancing and wearing masks. While many people gladly comply, many others do not, some going so far as assault, public temper tantrums, making up false and grandiose conspiracy theories, saying they are exempt because they belong to some made up agency that says they have a personal right not to comply and no one has the right to tell them what to do! In truth, these non-compliers care only for themselves. The ironic part is many of them, if asked, would claim to be faithful Christians.
Others see the Covid-19 crisis strictly from the viewpoint of commerce and business. Still others are more concerned with their sports and entertainment being canceled than they are with the risk it imposes on the lives of others. This seems to be a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:4 when men would be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
There is a great clamoring for schools to reopen whether or not it is safe for children, teachers, and administrators to be in such close contact. If adults are not complying to safety measures, what makes one think a child will? Yes, this virus has a high recovery rate, but reopening too quickly will result in the death of some of our children and teachers. No one knows who will have a so-called mild case and who will end up on a respirator. Too many needing such care at once will inevitably result in hospitals making hard choices for who they should attempt to save and who they will tell just to go home. Earlier we were asked to sacrifice Grandma and Grandpa for the economy and now we are being asked to sacrifice our children on the altar of the all-mighty dollar.
Empathy Or Hypocrisy
Whenever there is a major natural disaster, terrorist attack, or just a story on the news about an individual going through a huge financial crisis due to an illness people from around the world readily show great empathy towards those suffering. At least some individuals are capable of incredible kindness and Christian love. On the other hand, and which is becoming more common, there are people who look the other way when they see injustice and misery and then there are others who will try to take monetary advantage where they can. You can say at the very least that simply they shrug. Most of us have seen pictures from third world countries where poor and dying people are simply stepped over on the streets as the more fortunate walk on past narely giving them a glance.
Are You Really Pro-Life?
One of the great controversies of our times is the issue of abortion. There are those deeply committed to stopping the aborting of babies. It is fair to say many would lay their own lives on the line for what they consider the protection of innocent human life. In itself this is a very moral and godlike position to take. Sadly for many, this concern for human life ends with the birth of the baby. Many of the same people are angered by any use of tax-payer money to help provide for these children’s well-being. We have all heard someone make snide remarks about their time standing in line at the grocery store when they see someone paying for their items with food stamps or a single Mom using the WIC program.
It would seem that if you are truly pro-life you would be more than just pro-birth! While many have, how many “righteous” people adamant about this have adopted children not just adorable babies but older children and those with special needs? Over the last three years, we have seen a growing crisis at America’s southern border involving thousands of refugees from Central America
fleeing poverty and violence at the hands of murderous drug cartels. Millions of Americans hardened their hearts at this deplorable situation in which small children as young as two were separated from their parents and placed in large cages at Federal detention facilities. If someone was truly pro-life would they not be doing everything they possibly could to alleviate this suffering? It’s likely that many do, but do all pro-life people support individuals and organizations that offer a helping hand to our suffering human race?
The Baby Jesus Was A Refugee
In the USA and in Europe, there has developed an uncaring spirit towards impoverished people, including children, entering their nations in an effort to survive. This spirit goes all the way back to the book of Exodus when Egyptians became alarmed at the increase in population of Israelites within their borders. Exo 1:8-11 “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.”
Exo 22:21 “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Being unkind or racist towards a foreigner is ungodly and unscriptural. If one partakes in this oppression you are not a follower of the God of the Bible.
To anyone familiar with the nativity story, it is obvious that the baby Jesus and his parents were refugees fleeing the wrath of King Herod by escaping into Egypt. Mat 2:13-15 “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” Wasn’t the baby Jesus lucky that someone wasn’t waiting at the border willing and able to separate him from his parents and lock him in a cage before being sent back to Israel where Herod was waiting to kill him?!
The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth – Matthew 5:5
While preaching to the multitudes in Galilee, the Lord Jesus gave what is known as the Sermon On The Mount where He provided eleven examples of who are truly blessed in the eyes of God. It is the fifth example that reveals how different His spirit was compared to the present evil world. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” Surely, the meek have not yet inherited the Earth for in our day it is the proud and boastful and self-aggrandizing who are in control of the world. We are promised in the Bible that this will not always be the case, for a time is truly coming when the world will be judged in “righteousness.” Acts 17:31 God has promised that there will be a time that He will remove the covering that has been cast over all people. Isa 25:7 At that time there will be a “new heaven and a new Earth [society] in which righteousness dwells.” No longer will any man or woman say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” for we will all be brothers living with the true righteousness of Jehovah and His son, Jesus.
Does The Spirit Of Cain Live In You?
There has always been a lack of empathy among human beings but in our day it is likely even more prevalent because this is one of the things we are told to look for as a sign of Jesus’ Second Advent and the end of the age. The USA has been particularly blessed and from that favor much is to be expected, yet we as a people are woefully lacking, much as Sodom and Gomorrah were richly blessed in natural resources and yet were punished for their woeful lack of empathy. As time goes on, the wants of the individual has become far more important than the needs of the collective. The mantra has become “ME” instead of “WE”. 2Ti 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. “
The truth is the spirit of Cain, that of jealousy, covetousness, and deceitfulness looks to live inside each of us but the true Christian desiring to see God face to face has to strive to overcome this destructive spirit, for what if our Heavenly Father had lacked empathy for humanity? He surely would not have sent His son, His “beloved son” to suffer and die as a ransom for sin. God would have shrugged and concluded Adam made his choice and must accept the consequences. Had God possessed this spirit, the same spirit of Cain, mankind would have been lost forever! Thankfully, our merciful and loving Heavenly Father is a God of love, justice, and mercy.
May the Lord add His blessing.