A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
The closer a relationship the deeper an offense is felt. It may or may not be easier to offend a brother, but when he is offended the wound goes deep, as is the witness of many, many family divisions. The offense only goes deeper and the brother more unyielding when the offender tries to argue his case which ends up in quarreling.
How to break through the city wall and the castle bars? Here are practical steps to take: First, listen. Take the time to hear out the offended brother. Ask good questions that help you understand what he is saying and how and why he feels the way he does. Don’t be satisfied until you are able to articulate to his satisfaction his side and feelings.
That’s about it. You will be amazed at how easily your brother’s defense system comes down when he believes you really understand him. Because he is your brother (or sister), he wants resolution and reconciliation. But he cannot bring down his defenses until he knows you understand him and that you will not attack once he brings them down.
It sounds too simple, but you will be surprised at how effective it is. The reason? You are having to put down your attack weapons and your own defenses in order to listen well. You are having to make changes in yourself. And the best chance of our brother making the changes we think he needs to make is when he sees us making our own for his sake.
2 Timothy 3
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
A Final Charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.