No. 874



Are you your brother’s keeper? This question was first asked in the account of Cain and Abel recorded in the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis in the Bible. After Cain had killed his brother Abel, we read these words in verse 9, “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’” Here Cain committed two egregious sins -- he committed murder and then he lied about it.
But back to my earlier question as it relates to you. Are you your brother’s keeper? Only you can answer this question for yourself. I can tell you without reservation that I am. As a member of the human race, created by an all-powerful, all-wise and ever-present God, I know that I have been created in His image.
Because I choose to believe this and want to be held accountable, I know that in the broadest sense of the word I am to foster love and brotherhood among every member of the human race. The one thing I see in the world today that is destroying far too many of us is hatred. Millions of people have hatred for one another for a multitude of reasons. I can tell you from the depths of my heart that I do not hate anyone. However, I have a Texas-size dislike for many, many people because of their attitudes and their behavior.
One of the reasons for a lot of this hatred is something we call prejudice, which means, “A judgment or opinion formed before the facts are known.” Much of our prejudice is dragged forward from our childhood. It is what we observed and were taught while we were growing up. For a time I was there, too, but I can tell you, today there is no room for prejudice in an enlightened society. The one arena where prejudice is most pronounced is in race relations -- the divide between blacks and whites, and other races to some degree.
I was motivated to share these words by something I received recently from my friend Coach Dale Brown, former head men’s basketball coach of the LSU Tigers. Dale is a strong believer in the worth and dignity of every human being, regardless of the color of their skin or station of life. And he has practiced what he preaches. He was one of the first SEC coaches to recruit and play African-American players and the very first to have an African-American assistant coach on his staff. In fact, early on, he had two on his staff at the same time.
Here are a couple of thoughts Dale has penned that pretty well sum up his beliefs. “Man has never advanced a centimeter by hating or showing prejudice towards each other. The only notable advancement we have ever made in the history of the world is when we have been brothers and sisters at labor towards a common goal.” To live by relying on one another implies a risk, but without some trust in humanity, life would be unlivable. One of our greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln said, “If you trust, you will be disappointed occasionally, but if you mistrust, you will be miserable all the time.”
I have a good number of African-American friends who I love dearly. Most of you will not recognize these names, but among them are Marvin Delph, Shelia Whitmore, Dr. Charlotte Green and Lawson Pilgrim. These are not only good friends, but also fantastic human beings. The way to improve race relations is summed up in the Bible in I Samuel 16: 7b, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The next time you are tempted to be prejudiced toward someone different than you are, I hope you will remember what I have said here.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)