(My Brother Won’t Forgive Me) Bible Question.
“I made a silly comment that deeply wounded a member of the church where I worship. I quickly realized my sin and went to the individual involved as well as his family. I apologized to each and all of them. Some of them forgave me, but my brother will not. He says I didn’t mean it and so he will not come to church or talk to me. What can I do?”
Injurious wounds inflicted on one’s soul, psyche, sense of worth and emotions can be devastating. And forgiving others (or ourselves) can be one of the most difficult things a person can do. In both situations, the pain and hurt can be life-altering.
You have taken the most important step already. You have admitted you sin and gone to those you hurt and confessed your wrong. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another” (James 5:16). When we know we are wrong, the first thing to do is admit and confess to those we have injured. You have done that.
Now, the forgiveness is up to your brother. If he will not accept your confession as genuine there is only one thing for you to do: live in such a way to demonstrate you mean it. As to say to all that you have repented of this mistake.
When someone came to John to be immersed, he said to them, “Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8). John seems to have suspected that these people were looking for a religious ritual to ensure they were good people. He tells them to change, to demonstrate that this act of penitence was genuine and then their immersion would have meaning.
In your situation you can go out of your way to be kind, to be supportive and to be patient. You can speak highly of the people so that your silly comment will be seen to have been a foolish mistake, not your genuine opinion. You can act in such a way that others will see you respect this individual.
Finally, forgiveness is something that must come from the wounded person. Jesus had much to say about forgiving others . . .
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” – Matthew 6:14, 15 (New American Standard Bible)
The Lord warns us that our willingness to (or unwillingness) to forgive will have much to do with God’s willingness to forgive us. Jesus says it plainly: if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us.
So, allow time to heal this wound and work on the heart of your brother. Perhaps, as you bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, he will soften and forgive. The rest is between your brother and God. Leave it there.