As I mentioned last week, I’m reading a book published in 1961, called “Questions God Asks” by Hunter Beckelhymer. The chapter I read deals with the question “Where is your brother?”
That we are our brother’s keeper is more than an inescapable fact and a moral obligation, however. It is also a potential blessing. God means us to accept responsibility for others not only to save our skins, but for the good of our souls. Bearing one another’s burdens is not simply an expedient for survival–it is the way to a life infinitely richer than we know. Cain needs Abel not just as a customer for his produce, nor his good will just to avoid costly and dangerous warfare. Cain needs Abel in order to be fully Cain. So, too, you and I are lifted out of our pettiness and triviality by the breadth and depth of our relationships with those who share this earthly life with us. God gave Cain and Abel to each other. And their relationships to each other, their mutual responsibilities and shared enthusiasms, were meant to be a rewarding thing to them both. So, too, the neighbor next door, the strange and unpleasant peoples in another part of town, indeed the very enemy at our gate are not just problems to be solved. They are opportunities for us to become more fully human, and whether they know it or not we are the same opportunities for them.
(Source: Questions God Asks, pg. 40)
Opportunities to be more fully human – both for them and for us.
Wow. That’s a concept that speaks volumes. What if we saw the asylum seekers this way. Or people who have different political views. Or people who we don’t know. People in our neighborhoods, or work. Visitors to our churches. The homeless, the single parents, the LGBTQ+ person.
What if all the people are opportunities for each one of us to be more fully who we are.
I wonder how that would change the world.