Q. Years ago, before I was a Christian, I hurt a family member. Since I came to faith in Jesus, I have repeatedly asked for forgiveness. The person refuses to forgive me, and has basically disowned me. I have asked the Lord for forgiveness for my past many times. But this person continues to express hatred toward me. This has caused great anguish, and I ask you…how do I reconcile this burden? The family member is not a Christian.
A. In Romans 12:18 Paul said, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This means it takes two, and all we can do is make sure we’ve done our part. Forgiving one another is something we can do because Jesus first forgave us. People who haven’t experienced the Lord’s forgiveness often have a more difficult time forgiving others.
By sincerely seeking forgiveness, both from the Lord and the other party, you’ve fulfilled your responsibility in the matter. Now it’s time to turn it over to the Lord. Ask Him to forgive your family member, and to soften his or her heart toward Him. Receiving the Lord’s forgiveness might cause your family member to forgive you as well.