Anita was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of twenty-four. She underwent brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for almost a year, followed by continued medication for over two decades but never became cancer-free. Ironically, the treatments meant to cure her left lasting side effects. The three-inch scar on the front of her head, along with low immunity and balance issues were some of the reminders of her battle with cancer. Are we concerned about those who suffer? Watching one suffer from a terminal illness is painful. Suffering can cause us to overflow with bitterness and hatred or it can strengthen our character and life of righteousness. In reality there is another deadly virus that has infected all our lives, that is a wayward life which derails us from a life of love and care to anger, hatred and murder. Sinful behaviour destroys community life. The Bible records how Cain murdered his brother Abel; and when questioned by God about the whereabouts of his brother, Cain responded, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The reality is we are our brother’s keeper for we are created in the image and likeness of God. To kill another human is an assault on God. That is why the Bible forbids “You shall not kill.”
Abel who was killed demands justice. To impart justice requires the healing of a wounded memory. However, justice without memory is incomplete justice, false and unjust. The reason being to forget would be an absolute injustice in the same way that killing the innocent is an absolute crime. To forget would be the final triumph of the enemy. If memory is erased we can wash away the blood from the perpetrators’ hands, we undo the done deed, and make it disappear from history. Erase memories of atrocities and you tempt future perpetrators with immunity. Inversely, remember the misdeeds and you erect a barrier against future misdeeds. Let us choose love over hatred for we are our brothers’ keepers.