The Expository Files




What If I’ve Got A Problem

With My Brother?


Talk to God. Can you think of any occasion, issue or problem that you shouldn’t pray about? I can’t. Any matter that is important enough to think about is important enough to pray about. If you are bothered, believing you have been mistreated or offended by your brother, talk to God about it. Lay the problem out before Him, asking for wisdom, patience, love and objectivity. If you believe your brother has sinned against you, pray to God sincerely for him. If you think your brother is guilty of sin or error, pray for him and pray for yourself, that you might use a mature and godly approach to the problem. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him,” (James 1:5).

Talk to yourself. Before you go to your brother, consider the possibility that you might be the problem; or at least part of the problem. Examine yourself; your attitude and perspective. Use the Word of God as a mirror to look at yourself and talk to yourself (Jas. 1:21-25). Jesus said, in the context of this very matter, “take heed to yourselves,” (see Luke 17:1-4).

Talk to him. The typical reaction, when you believe your brother has mistreated you, is to broadcast your irritation to everybody but the brother. To tell others “your side of the story” before the brother even knows there is a story. Jesus said, “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone,” (Matt. 18:15). That is the law of Christ!

Talk to him promptly. Of all the words spoken by Jesus, I don’t know of many as ignored by my brethren as these three words: “Agree with your adversary quickly,” (Matt. 5:25). I’ve never heard of a Christian denying that Christ said this, but few seem to take it seriously. At the first sign of trouble, we need to respond by talking to our brother. We need to take this action “quickly” not “eventually.” This is the law of Christ!

Talk to him lovingly. “Let brotherly love continue” even in times of conflict (Heb. 13:1). If your brother has sinned against you, he needs your love – not your selfish, immature reactions. When you talk to him, do so in a manner that displays your love for God and your love for his soul. The object in your conversation with him is not to vent your wrath, but to express your love and communicate God’s will in such a way, the conflict is resolved; the sin is forsaken; the misunderstanding is settled. (See Prov. 27:5,6). Stand for what is right, but do it “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ,” (2 Cor. 10:1). “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing,” (Prov. 12:18). And, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God,” (Jas. 1:20).

Talk to him patiently. If your first visit does not yield good results, go back again. If the problem has the potential of harming you, hindering others and hurting the cause of Christ – don’t give up quickly. Keep trying to work the problem out to a godly result.

One thing is certain, if two people love the Lord, there is no problem they cannot solve through the good attitudes and actions the Lord has taught us.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” (Gal. 6:1-5).


By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 21.2; February 2014