What should you do when you cannot reconcile with another person?


From my understanding, the right thing to do when you are angry with someone is to try and reconcile with them. But an undertaking like this requires some foresight. What if our attempts to reconcile are unsuccessful? When should one stop trying to reconcile? I would appreciate any feedback that helps improve my judgment in these scenarios. It would be helpful to know how to think and judge a situation where my attempts at reconciliation fall short. I would also appreciate any references to the Bible or the Catechism that touch on this subject.

I’m basing this line of thought on Matthew 5:22-24.

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:22-24 NIV


“…If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone…But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church…”(Mt 18:15-17)

That pretty much sums it up. Try to reconcile. If it isn’t going to work, forgive him/her and move on with your life.

If it was you who did the wrong, and the person won’t acknowledge your apology/attempt to reconcile, then be sincere in your intent, confess your sins, and move on with your life.


First, forgive.
Second, dust off your sandals and walk away.
Third, let it go.


Thanks! The situation is that I am angry at someone else. I’d like to ask you a couple questions. First, when the text from Matthew says “brother”, does it mean any human being? Including a non-Christian?

Second, does the part about taking one or two others along, and telling it to the Church, apply in every situation? Or are there some situations where it’s prudent not to involve others, even if the conversation between the two of you does not work out? For example, when the other person is not a Christian, or when the relationship is professional and not personal. Does the Bible or the Catechism ever talk about such situations, where it’s prudent not to press too much, especially by involving others?


Reconciliation is possible in all cases, only between us and God. The human heart has been granted the freedom to reject reconciliation both with God and man. If you have forgiven them any and all wrongs from your heart, then you have done all that is possible. Matthew 18:23-35 Parable of the unforgiving servant.


Well said!

I have one question for you. Would you agree with my reasoning that, if we are angry with someone, it’s important that we tell them why and try to reconcile? Even if they are not a Christian, or the relationship is professional?


OF course, we should always try, for peace in the home, the workplace, and the world is what God desired for us.
If rejected, as po18guy says, we have done what are charged to do.
Be at peace. There’s awkward people all over. We just can’t be one them ourselves. :wink:


Well said, again.


Every time we say the Lord’s prayer, we ask God to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others. So if we don’t forgive, then God wont forgive us in the same way.

How many times should we forgive?

Mathew 18

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.




Best advice !


Jesus asks us to forgive and in that act, extinguish our anger.
That is different to reconcilliation.
We can and should forgive, as taught by Jesus.

We should forgive before approaching the sacrifice that is in the Eucharist :innocent: ( I read that somewhere but cant remember where)

If our attempts at reconcilliation fail. Let that process go and pray for the person.


Yes this^^


Originally Posted by pianistclare View Post
First, forgive.
Second, dust off your sandals and walk away.
Third, let it go.

This from pianistclare is so succinct and pretty much what you need to do.

But, if you are like me, and that is someone who will periodically wince at the memory of the ‘friendship’ that is no more, you can always say a prayer for God’s blessing and perfect will for that person. :slight_smile: Or if you are feeling particularly loving or generous have a mass said for them. You don’t need to send a mass card to them, especially if they are hostile, but just the most perfect form of worship in their name is one of the most charitable things you can do for anyone.

God Bless you for being a Peacemaker.

  • Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.*


Would you agree with my reasoning that, if we are angry with someone, it’s important that we tell them why and try to reconcile?

It is not always prudent to share your anger, even with the person you’re angry at. Depending on your temperament, it may be always – or nearly always – imprudent. Can you get angry without sinning? I pretty much can’t. Especially if I try to talk to the person while I’m still angry with them. (I realize not everyone is like this.)

Forgive first. After you’ve forgiven, you’ll have a much clearer head and more balanced perspective on whether anything needs to be said. At that point it may not be a matter of reconciliation at all; after your anger is resolved you may not feel you have any more trouble with the relationship.

I hope you’re able to find a good resolution to your situation!

Should we always apologize when we have done wrong?

Thanks for the sage advice. I can see what you’re saying about the importance of forgiving someone first.


To forgive is within our power to do so, forgiveness just needs one person, and that is me. Reconciliation needs two people, and this is not always possible.

If we can forgive, it will help us to find peace. I have known people to carry a burning hatred for years, and they can become very bitter.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.