Q. I have a significant problem concerning forgiveness. I forgave my brother for believing a lie that was told by my stepfather, who since passed away. Although this happened several years ago, my brother does not want any contact with me because he thinks I’m the one who lied. I have tried to reconcile on several occasions and he has refused all my attempts. I have had Christ in my heart for 30 plus years. I look forward to his coming soon. What happens if we can’t reconcile the situation? I want to be able to come home with the Lord. If I have been faithful and true will that still happen?
A. Romans 12:18 says we’re do everything possible to live at peace with one another, as far as it depends on us.
But we are not responsible for the actions of anyone else, nor can their behavior penalize us. Matt. 18:15-17 outlines the process for reconciliation and says if a brother refuses to be reconciled after these steps have been taken we are free to treat him like we would a non-believer, which means we are released from any fellowship requirements.
His failure to forgive you can’t endanger your salvation, your participation in the rapture, or any other aspect of your relationship with the Lord, especially since, as you say, you have forgiven him.
Paul warned us to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger along with every form of malice. He said to be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave us. (Ephesians 4:31-32). It’s the way we express our gratitude to Him for saving us.