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Why is my relative not reconciled to me?
Thank you so much for your honest question. Apart from God, family members are likely to be the closest relationships we have in this life, and so a broken relationship with one you naturally love greatly will, of course, be extremely hard.
Pray that the wisdom of God's word, put forth in this answer, will help you to begin to rest more fully in the Father's perfect power, love and wisdom.
Let me begin by saying that I cannot make a promise to you that your family member and you will be fully reconciled. History, and particularly church history, is full of wonderful transformations where a relative who has been far from the LORD has been faithfully prayed for by a Godly family for many years, and has finally come to the LORD. Perhaps the most famous example of this is from the late third century, with Monica praying for her rebellious son for decades. This son, Augustine, finally became a Christian, and is one of the most influential theologians ever to have lived.
I wish I could make such a promise for you and your relative, that your prayers would finally bring them to be reconciled first, and most importantly, to God through Christ Jesus, and secondly, to yourself. However, I cannot make this promise as it would be irresponsible of me to do so.
What I can do, however, is point you to three characteristics of God, three things which are always true of him. If you consider these truths humbly, they will encourage you and give you renewed hope, even in the middle of your situation. The three characteristics of God that we will consider, which the Bible speaks so clearly about, are his power, his love, and his wisdom.
Around eight hundred years before the time of Christ, a prophet named Isaiah began to speak to God's people in Israel. At this time, the people had nations far larger and more powerful attacking Israel, threatening the people with destruction or exile. God, however, wanted his people to realise that, as great and powerful as the nations attacking them were, God himself is far more great and powerful. That's the very clear message of much of Isaiah 40, an excerpt of which is below:
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12).
This powerful imagery shows that, whatever Israel's enemies could do, God could do far more. If they attacked Israel, it was well within God's power to protect his people.
I imagine at times it must seem impossible for you and your relative to be reconciled. But God is more powerful than every barrier, and if he chooses to bring your relative to Christ, and to reconcile the two of you, he is well able to to that.
Secondly, let us look a little at what the Bible says about God as being loving. I can only write very briefly on this, but as I'm sure you realise, millions of words could be written on this subject, although none is more succinct than the words of the apostle John: God is love (1 John 4:8). God's very being is love, and this is consistently shown in the way that he relates to people.
For example, the very fact that in Isaiah 40, God is speaking to his people, declaring his power to them, is because he loves them, and he wants them to know the comfort, and the security, of knowing that he is in control:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended. (Isaiah 40:1-2).
Do you notice how God speaks to his people as a parent might soothe a distressed child? That is the kind of love that God has for his people – a kind of love which, toward the end of this answer, we will think about more fully. As much as you love your relative, God's love is greater still.
When we link that love with God's power, we discover the wonderful truth that God is able to work all things well for those whom he loves; even empires attacking his people; even broken family relationships.
Thirdly, let us consider the wisdom of God, in the way that he lovingly works with power.
Why did God let his people get into trouble in the first place? If he is powerful, and loving, he could have stopped other nations attacking his people. He could have stopped the breakdown of relationships in the first place. So why does God allow seemingly bad things to happen to those he loves?
We can give some reasons. For example, the Israelites were wandering from God, neglecting his commands, and he wanted them to see their need of him. So perhaps he let them feel their powerlessness by being threatened by other nations. But in the end, we don't know the full reasons for what God did with Israel, or what God does in our lives. We can trust him, however, because he is wise.
Back in Isaiah 40, we are asked:
Whom did he [God] consult,
and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding? (Isaiah 40:14).
Can you imagine people directing God, as to what he should do? It's as silly an idea as my 19-month old son navigating for me when I'm driving. It's obvious, isn't it, that if God is God, he knows better than we do?
And this, too, is comforting. The Jewish people were able to trust God, in his loving, powerful wisdom to do the very best thing, the thing which is best for them, and which most shows his own greatness. In problems in my life, I am able to trust that God, in his wisdom, will bring about the very best resolution.
In your situation, you can trust that this infinitely powerful, loving and wise God will bring about the best resolution, that which most truly shows his greatness.
As you continue to pray for your relative, let me point you to some great truths of God's word, the Bible.
The fact that you have a relative who is not reconciled to you is something which God can relate to. The Bible tells us that God created humanity to be in a true relationship with him. However, we have rebelled against his loving rule, and gone our own way.
In wonderful patience, however, rather than condemning us to hell, God went to an extreme length to rescue us: He sent his beloved Son, Jesus, to live, and suffer, and die, and rise from death in our place. At the cross, Christ took on himself the sins of others, and received the punishment due for those sins. This means that, all who trust in Christ receive forgiveness and adoption into family – not as something we must work toward, but freely, as a precious gift.
This is wonderful! It means that your relative, despite their choices and actions, can know peace with God through Jesus Christ.
It is also wonderful because however we have lived our lives, we can know peace with God through Jesus Christ. Even if we may have become bitter when we haven't received what we asked for, the precious gift of Jesus Christ is still for us.
Perhaps you have never realised this truth before and want to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
In summary, we have seen that the Bible clearly shows that God's power, love and wisdom mean that we can trust him to work all things for the absolute best, even when we are confused about what he is doing. We have also seen that God's love is ultimately shown in him sending his Son so that sinners – obvious 'sinners' and also respectable members of society – might freely receive God's forgiveness and be brought into his family.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Romans 8:28
- Ephesians 6:4
- Romans 5:6-8
I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church
Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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