Am I My Brother's Keeper?


#1

How responsible are we for the seemingly innorcent things we say or do that create a negative even disastrous affect in others?


#2

If you don’t strive to conitnuously be a good example, you by default become a bad one.


#3

[quote=AServantofGod]How responsible are we for the seemingly innorcent things we say or do that create a negative even disastrous affect in others?
[/quote]

We are responsible and accountable to God for all our actions including what we think may be trivial or harmless. However, culpability can be mitigated based on ignorance to a certain degree. But, we are responsible for an informed conscience.


#4

We may be innocent of inadvertantly causing a disastrous result, but that doesn’t remove our responsibility to use our best efforts to rectify the situation once we realize what we’ve done.


#5

[quote=Paul W]We may be innocent of inadvertantly causing a disastrous result, but that doesn’t remove our responsibility to use our best efforts to rectify the situation once we realize what we’ve done.
[/quote]

Nor does it relieve us of the responsibility to THINK ahead, and try to forsee the logical outcomes of our actions. And it especially does not relieve us of the responsibility of looking at the outcomes afterwards and learning from them.

On a thread in the former Politics II forum someone said something like, “Even if we do lock people in poverty, don’t we have an obligation to help?”

That’s the Fallacy of Two Alternatives (it assumes only two alternatives – lock them in poverty or not help them at all.) In the real world, we should anticipate the negative consquences of our planned programs, and monitor those programs once in place to modify them so as to really help, not hurt.

So, yes, we ARE our brother’s keeper – and we have a responsibility to act effectively and to stand up to the consequences of our acts.


#6

Agree with this for sure especially since we are Catholics!


#7

[quote=AServantofGod]How responsible are we for the seemingly innorcent things we say or do that create a negative even disastrous affect in others?
[/quote]

Seemingly? That’s a little vague. Could you give an example? For instance, if you were to ask how responsible our Lord was for Judas going out and hanging himself, I would of course say, not at all, even though it seems unlikely Judas would have come to the same end in the theoretical case where he never met Jesus. (Although I am also fond of the saying: What would have been is what was.) On the other hand, if you do something hurtful to someone else because you were too careless to notice it would have a needlessly bad effect or you rationalized that you couldn’t be bothered to act differently, then you bear responsibility for that.


#8

[quote=BLB_Oregon]Seemingly? That’s a little vague. Could you give an example? For instance, if you were to ask how responsible our Lord was for Judas going out and hanging himself, I would of course say, not at all, even though it seems unlikely Judas would have come to the same end in the theoretical case where he never met Jesus. (Although I am also fond of the saying: What would have been is what was.) On the other hand, if you do something hurtful to someone else because you were too careless to notice it would have a needlessly bad effect or you rationalized that you couldn’t be bothered to act differently, then you bear responsibility for that.
[/quote]

Examples:

You have a sharp tongue & say something insensitive to somebody who’s depressed. Your words, along with everything else this person has experienced, add to the depression or the seriousness of it.

You fail to invite somebody to social functions not out of meanness but simply because you don’t consider them friends. They take it personally & begin rampant gossip about you.

There are other examples that demonstrate more serious consequences. For example, somebody may be so upset by a relationship break up initiated by the other person that they commit suicide.

How about a parent who is praying & trying their best to raise their children? However, the child gets involved in drugs, alcohol, theft, etc. because of the parent’s poor discipline techniques or temper or lack of attention or too much attention, etc., etc., etc.


#9

If your brother is harmed as a result of your neglect. And it was within your power to help. Then you have committed a sin of ommission. So you are your brothers keeper, not just by setting a good example, but by not ommitting to help them also.

With regards to the poor of this world, there is a quote in the catechism from St John Chrysostom in the social justice section which goes something like this ( I am going off memory ) ," When you give alms to the poor, don’t be thinking how wonderful you are. You have done nothing more than justice demanded".


#10

To a certain extent it is within my power to help alot of people out there, the homeless, the hungry, the orphaned, the imprisoned. Christ requires this of me. But it is overwhelming. How do you know where to begin? Sometimes being overwhelmed freezes us in to inactivity.

So does that mean I should help out everybody that comes my way? Do I commit a sin of ommision every time I pass up an opportunity to help somebody? This seems so difficult:confused:


#11

[quote=AServantofGod]To a certain extent it is within my power to help alot of people out there, the homeless, the hungry, the orphaned, the imprisoned. Christ requires this of me. But it is overwhelming. How do you know where to begin? Sometimes being overwhelmed freezes us in to inactivity.

So does that mean I should help out everybody that comes my way? Do I commit a sin of ommision every time I pass up an opportunity to help somebody? This seems so difficult:confused:
[/quote]

You are not required to be perfect, nor to shoulder a burden you cannot bear. You are required to do something – even if it is a small thing – to make things better for your brother, but you can’t help everyone in the world. And you aren’t required to – only to do your part.


#12

most likely… but, whatever you are, don’t be your brothers stumbbling block… :thumbsup:


#13

[quote=space ghost]most likely… but, whatever you are, don’t be your brothers stumbbling block… :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Good point! And I guess this begins at home.


#14

[quote=AServantofGod]Examples:
You have a sharp tongue & say something insensitive to somebody who’s depressed. Your words, along with everything else this person has experienced, add to the depression or the seriousness of it.

You fail to invite somebody to social functions not out of meanness but simply because you don’t consider them friends. They take it personally & begin rampant gossip about you.

There are other examples that demonstrate more serious consequences. For example, somebody may be so upset by a relationship break up initiated by the other person that they commit suicide.

How about a parent who is praying & trying their best to raise their children? However, the child gets involved in drugs, alcohol, theft, etc. because of the parent’s poor discipline techniques or temper or lack of attention or too much attention, etc., etc., etc.
[/quote]

I see what you mean. You are responsible to treat others with love, dignity, and respect. Watch your mouth. But don’t think that you can’t have a party without inviting every person you know. Don’t think that pity is a good reason to stay in a relationship, since that will keep you (and the other person) from doing the inner work and eventually starting the relationship that will lead to a healthy marriage. Don’t think that not being a perfect parent is the reason you don’t have perfect children.

You aren’t God. Even God lets his children make their choices and live with the consequences. He does not give them a perfect moral vacuum to operate in… there are temptations, there are complexities.

As Mother Theresa said, “God did not call me to be successful. He called me to be faithful.” Do what you are called to do, but be content to leave the outcome in the hands of God. Let him have the control, let him have the glory. You are only his servant, and you bring nothing to the table except a willingness to give all he gives to you back to him. (And that really ought to be enough to keep any of us quite busy! :wink: )


#15

It belongs to the very substance of nonviolence never to destroy or damage another person’s feeling of self worth, even an opponet’s. We all need, constantly, an advance of trust and affirmation.


-Fr. Bernard Haring

I think Fr. Haring sums it up nicely. I am woefully short on this point. The thread is about being my brother’s keeper. And fromt he original question possed I am under the understanding that we are tlaking about the way we treat others when they are doing something we don’t approve of.

I think that

IF

  1. The attitude/behavior in question is one that the other person would or should recognise as being inconsistent with their own beliefs, or if it undermines the basic diginity of man,

THEN

2)We are called to giving LOVING fraternal correction. We must hold each other accountable. Great friendships and relationships are founded in this very prinicple. anyone who reads the “manuscripts” of VCII will find a lot of that during discussions (unfortuantly they will find a lot of unloving correction as well.)

In the end, we are called to be charitable in all things. I hope others, and all of you will help hold me accountable here in the forums. I am guilty of it as well, but I do see a lot of judging and “humor” that is degrading of others. Jesus said they way we treat these, the least of his brothers …


#16

Excellent point!


#17

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