The other night I was reading a post where another blogger was sharing a story about the troubles with an in-law. I was reading along and empathizing with her when she was describing how mean and hurtful that in-law could be. But I darn near choked on my cup of water when I got to the end where she ended her post with a wish that this in-law could be a part of her children’s life. It got me thinking about something….something that might be a little much….or maybe not.
I’m not sure if there’s a delicate way to phrase this, so I’ll just lay it out there. If someone in your immediate or extended family is mean, cruel, rude, or otherwise just plain not nice, you have NO (read it N-O) obligation to associate or deal with them just because they are family. In truth, if a relative is any of the above things, I’m surprised you’d even want them involved in your family life.
The sad truth is that in most families, there is someone who doesn’t fit the mold. Maybe they had troubles in youth or in adulthood, but either way, their presence or influence is simply not positive or healthy. It isn’t condemnation. It just might be truth. In these cases, we need to look at our walks and our beliefs to see how to proceed.
For me, I don’t believe that the Lord wants me to be around certain types of people just because they are related to me. If someone doesn’t have similar beliefs or a similar lifestyle, then they probably wouldn’t be an immediate part of my social cricle. So why on earth should I have to spend time with someone that I would not choose to associate with on a regular basis just because we might have similar DNA? And to take it a step further, if I wouldn’t be hanging out with them by choice, then why should I want them to be a part of my child’s life? Especially knowing that their influence will most likely be anything BUT loving and Godly?
Don’t get me wrong. As a believer in Christ, I strive to show everyone love, caring, and understanding. I strive to love my enemy, love my neighbor, love my brother. I just don’t believe in compromising myself or my walk to hang out with individuals who are a negative influence in my life. That being said, I wouldn’t allow my children to hang around individuals who are a negative influence in my life either – regardless of whether or not they are considered family. Mark 3:33 “He replied to them, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
In Mark 9:42, the Lord says “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.” If a relative or in-law is a negative influence on our children, then not only are they responsible for causing our kids to stumble, but WE, as parents, would be responsible as well for even allowing that source of negativity into our children’s lives.
In summary, if you have a mean in-law or relative, do NOT be afraid to cut-off ties. Do NOT be afraid to omit them from family gatherings. Do NOT be afraid to treat them as someone who ISN’T family. My family is a family in Christ. Either you’re a part of it or you aren’t. It doesn’t mean I won’t pray for you. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It just means I’m making the decision to put my Walk and my faith before DNA.