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How Do I Forgive My Sister?


A listener named Aida asks Father Steven Bell how to forgive her older sister who she hasn’t spoken to for years due to a conflict over their inheritance.

Aida explains that she feels hurt by her sister and does not trust her. Father Steven responds, “The truth is, the reason for your separation is very common. Money issues are usually the root of family discord. So, to be able to get through those things, you have to be able to put it aside and look back at the basics of what it is that you see in one another. If there’s anything in you that sees your sister from a place of value, you need to look there first.”

RELATED: Fatherly Advice: Forgiving Someone Who’s Hurt You

“You did ask a very provocative question,” Father Steven continues. “How can you forgive her if she’s hurting so many including yourself? I’m going to throw these four words to you that hopefully might give you a bit more objectivity in the relationship: Hurt people hurt people. So, understand that even though your sister might be doing things that cause pain, it’s because she herself is feeling some pain. The challenge that someone like me might have in a family squabble of this nature is getting people to understand that there is a great level of hurt and a great need for healing. Mercy is going to be your friend. It’s really going to force you to take the high road, but it’s not going to let you do that by yourself.”

Father Steven also suggests pastoral counseling and encourages Aida to look at her sister. He also encourages her to pray to St. Monica whose prayers were answered beyond her expectations after years of long suffering, “Monica was able to look beyond some of the material things that can separate us from one another. I think that she will teach you how to do that same thing.”