Relationships - Family - Siblings


03/05/2006
I made a big mistake after Christmas by letting my 50 year old sister and her 18 year old son move in with us because she was losing her place. I knew it was wrong when it came close to them moving in and should have stopped it. What do you think God’s will is for this situation?

I think a lot of people deal with that where they have relatives staying with them.

First of all, it is the will of God for everybody to have individual personal responsibility. We see in the Bible that we need to have personal responsibility and self government. Your sister should be responsible to get a job and work to take care of her own family.

If, for some reason, she’s sick or injured and she’s unable to work, that’s a different story. Then you need to have compassion on her and help provide for her. Loved ones should be able to help provide for people in situations like that.

If she’s capable of getting a job and she just is not being diligent to do so, then you need to give her a time limit. That is what you need to do next; give her a time limit, a move-out date. You need to be reasonable and fair about this. Let her know that within the next 30 to 60 days, whatever you’re comfortable with, she needs to be out on her own. If it were me, I would give her 30 days. Other people would rather be more generous and give them 60 days, but between 30 and 60 days.

Be definitive. Don’t say, “Well, somewhere between 30 and 60 days. Say, “On such and such a date, I need you to be out for the sake of peace among all of us and for your own well-being. You’ll be way better without me. You’ll be way better on your own.” We can’t create dependency like that. She needs to move out and you need to give her a date.


Relationships - Family - Siblings


03/05/2006
I was raised in a Christian home, as were my two brothers. They’ve both been living with their girlfriends for at least a couple of years. I’m just wondering how I can minister to them and to their girlfriends? The one girlfriend does profess to be a Christian. She was raised in a Christian home. The other girl is very anti-Christian. She doesn’t want anything to do with Christianity. She thinks people who rely on faith and Christianity are weak people and they have to have religion because they’re not strong enough to make it on their own. I know that it’s not good for them to be living together outside of marriage. It hurts me that my brother is with a girl who is so against God.

Well, the number one word that I would give you on that is—really, two words—“in humility.” How do you minister to people in a situation like that? You minister to them in humility. If you come across judgmental, if you come across critical in any way, you lose them.

So you’ve got to be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove, the Bible says. It says a soft answer turns away wrath, in Proverbs 15:1 &2. A soft answer turns away wrath. I tell you this, when it comes to communicating with relatives on matters of salvation and matters of importance such as living together and things like that, it really depends on the level of trust that they have in you and the level of openness in your relationship.

If there’s a habit and a pattern of open communication with your brothers, then I would pull them aside individually and sit down with them. Take them to lunch and say, “Let’s talk about our lives. Let’s talk about where we’re going in life.” But if there is not that already proven track record of credibility and trust, then you can’t mess with it. It’s like jumping into a hornet’s nest.

The Bible says in Proverbs 26:17, “Don’t grab a dog by its ears.” Meddling in somebody else’s affairs is like grabbing a dog by its ears. It’s going to bite. You have to know to what level you’re confident that they would receive what you have to say. And at that level and only to that level should you communicate with them.

They’ve heard the gospel; they’ve heard about Jesus. So you’re not responsible for them getting saved. They’re responsible now. They’ve heard about Jesus. They heard that He rose from the dead. They heard that they needed to receive Him; that He died for their sins. Now it’s up to them and the blood is on their head.

So, I would be gracious with them. I would be humble with them. I would look for an opportunity. Pray for a divine opportunity that they would soften their heart and come to you; that they would take the initiative. And when they do, that’s when I would talk to them with kindness and with hope that God has a greater purpose in their life than just them living together. But I would wait for them to come to you, unless you have this open fellowship and friendship with them where you can just go to them and talk to them about anything.

Don’t worry about it. You cast the care of that upon the Lord, because it’s not your job to institute morality in their lives. It’s their job to get it together. You’ve just got to be willing to back away and say, “You know what, I’ve prayed for them. I’ve shared my faith with them. Now it’s up to them and it’s up to God to reveal the truth to them and it’s up to them to respond to God.”

You've just got to cast the care upon the Lord and not lose sleep over it. Realize that they’re going to do what’s in their heart to do and you can’t control that.