Reconciliation has many facets. We’ve talked about the most important - being reconciled to God. And we’ve talked about our purpose as believers and followers of Jesus Christ - reconciling others to God. But what about the reconciliation that sometimes needs to happen in families? Specifically, the reconciliation between siblings.
Unless you’re an only child, you’ve probably experienced a situation where there was a need for reconciliation between siblings. Depending on the circumstances this can sometimes be harder for some than others. But forgiveness, which is the first step in reconciliation, is yours.
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15
God is the only being who can forgive and forget. We are not capable of forgetting, but forgiveness is a choice. Yes, it may take a lot of prayer and determination, but when forgiveness is complete, the record keeping of the other’s wrong is dropped.
Think about this…when you harbor unforgiveness toward someone what happens to you? You become bitter. Bitterness becomes mean. Mean spreads to everyone, not just the one to whom you are bitter towards. (Maybe not 100% of the time, but often.) Thus, your life becomes consumed by this unforgiveness.
When you truly want reconciliation you must first forgive - truly forgive - that person who has wronged you. Pray about it. Realize that Jesus died for them just as He died for you. Realize that Jesus loves them just as much as He does you. Realize that they are a sinner, even if a saint also, just as you are.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19 ESV
You, alone, cannot make reconciliation happen. It takes both parties to reconcile. But you can do your part. You can forgive which removes your searing pain and takes away your bitterness, and you can love your sibling anyway which keeps them dear to you.
Unfortunately, even when both parties forgive and make amends, the relationship may never go back to the way it was before. God is the only one Who can truly wipe the slate clean. Perhaps, over time, the relationship will get close to the way it was, but that doesn’t always happen, even when both parties are followers of Christ.
One thing I do know is that life is short and it is a wonderful thing to know that you have no regrets with someone when they die.
So do the “as much as is possible that depends on you” and forgive and/or ask for forgiveness and then live peaceably.. This removes your bitterness and/or guilt, and it restores your relationship to Christ. The part of the reconciliation with the other party is then up to them.
Complete reconciliation is the goal. After all, Jesus is the Healer and when we let Him, He will completely HEAL our broken relationships.