I have a brother whose wife left him because of physical and emotional abuse…. Now he’s living with another woman…. He is a macho manipulator….
Right now, both my brother and I live with my parents. All my life he has verbally abused me…. The last time he assaulted me physically. I have chosen to stay away from him all the time…. It’s very difficult for me that we live under the same roof. That’s why I want to move out of the house very soon, even if it means that I can no longer care for my mother. I can’t stand my brother…. Could it be that I haven’t forgiven him?
We are very sorry to hear what you have been going through. You have been wounded emotionally and physically by your brother, and you don’t have much hope that he intends to change his attitudes and actions. Living under the same roof is preventing you from having peace in your own home. You don’t say so, but it would be normal for you to have also developed some anxiety about what your brother will do next.
We think it’s a good idea for you to move out of the house. Perhaps you can work out a schedule to visit and help your mother at times when your brother is not around, so you won’t have to deal with him.
You obviously realize that a lack of forgiveness would hurt you more than it would hurt him. So you wonder if your desire to get away from your brother is an indication that you haven’t forgiven him, even though you have tried. Do you think that genuine forgiveness would have made your brother’s actions tolerable? If you had genuinely forgiven him, do you think that you would then agree to be abused by him? No, of course not! Genuinely forgiving someone does not mean that you will ever like or even tolerate their behavior. Forgiving your brother does not require you to have a relationship with him.
Let’s consider what the Apostle Paul taught. Some of Paul’s teachings are in the letters that he wrote to Timothy, his apprentice. Two of those letters are found in the Bible. In the second letter, Paul warned Timothy to be careful of a man named Alexander. Apparently, Alexander had hurt Paul in some way, and Paul was concerned that Alexander would also try to hurt Timothy. So Paul warned Timothy to be on guard and to protect himself from Alexander.(1)
Paul didn’t mention his feelings about forgiving Alexander because that was a totally unrelated issue. Paul just warned Timothy to stay away from harm.
That is what we say to you likewise. For your own protection and safety, we recommend that you do everything you can to stay away from your brother.
We wish you well,
1 2Ti 4:15