Need advice for mother in law.

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gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey guys. Not sure if this is the right place, but it said family forum so I posted it here.

My mother in law is an amazing Christian women who loves the Lord and loves to follow his commandments and serve where ever she can. She constantly puts her own needs and wants on the back burner to help others.

Her husband, my father in law, has a daughter from his first marriage that seems to have an issue with my mother in law. There have been many issues over the years, but one right now seems to be causing my mother in law great stress. The said daughter has invited my mother in law and father in law on an expensive holiday in July. Things right now are not great between my mother in law and said daughter. My mother in law would just rather not go, but feels turning down this trip may be wrong and cause family 'drama'.

I told my mother in law, that if she doesnt want to go then she should just not go. The daughter is not a believer and uses my mother in laws faith as a chain she can pull whenever she wants. An example is "well a Christian should do this...or that".

To get down to it, my mother in law feels that it would be un-Christian to just cut ties and say they don't want to go on this expensive vacation. I have told her that she should tell the daughter that she would rather use the money to fund some Christian charities or send a single mom and her kids away for a week and pay her wages in Christ's name. It would be a great witness and a radical thing to do. She shrugged it off and said her daughter in law would again bring up that she isn't being 'Christian'.

Does anyone have any good scripture that I could give my mother in law to tell her it's ok to not satisfy every wim of an ungrateful, unbelieving daughter? i mention the verse in Matt 10 about Jesus putting the sword between family, but if there is any others that come to mind that would be great. thanks very much!
 

O'GodHowGreatThouArt

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm reminded of Romans 8:12-18 and Luke 14:25-33 reading this situation.

Luke 14:25-33 said:
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Romans 8:12-18 said:
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

What she needs to ask herself is whether or not her faith and trust in God is such a priority that she is willing to forsake everything for it. It seems like an odd question, but its a necessary one.

Living in a home full of unbelievers, all of which immediate family, I learned really quickly when I came to faith that you're going to have to turn on your own family in some regards (sadly with mine...more than I care to admit). Things I used to relish and partake in with them, I now despise and will have no part of.

I used to love going to a mall with them. Now....I won't go near that place if you tie me to a bomb and tell me it'll blow up if I don't go. My parents were thrown for a loop when I told them that, and they're still baffled (even though I've explained it to them in the past a couple times).

Remember verse 15 of Romans 8. We were not pulled out of sin by Christ and clothed in him only to be rebound by the chains of slavery to this world. They're gone, and will be gone.....forever. The devil and our enemies will spend their entire lives desperately trying to hogtie us with rope, because their only chain has been destroyed...yet God is greater and merciful, and will break us free from that.

Is she giving in to keep the family in peace, or is she doing it only to give all the glory to God?

We should not try to keep family peace on our own, it will be in vain and He will be abandoned by the wayside in the process. I've seen it a thousand times. As an example, I forsook attending a church for over a year to keep family peace. I ended up betraying my dad's trust because it finally came to me where my priorities should be, and I should do everything I can to please God and God alone. Yes I betrayed my father's trust, but do you know what my biggest mistake was?

Not betraying it sooner. Not because of what consequence that would be implemented, but what I did to myself over that year by not attending.

The only peace giver is the one seated on the throne of Heaven. We can do nothing apart from him.

Hope this helps out. They're not verses that directly answer your question, but I believe the applications are very relevant to your question.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
good advice! The Romans 8:15 is great. I thank you for your words. You hit the nail on the head. Who is she serving? Who is the only peace giver?

Thanks and God bless!
 

Reformation Monk

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey Gord,

There are so many versus that can pertain to this problem. Here is what comes to mind immediately.

1. The daughter is being selfish it she doesn't accept the mother in law's declining.
2. We are to Love God and "our neighbor" meaning that if the daughter were a Christian she should love the mother-in-law and respect her.
3. We shouldn't have a love for money..... i.e., rely on expensive things for happiness.
4. Which also touches on idolatry.... our happiness, peace and contentment should come from God not the World.... i.e., expensive vacations.

Also, while this isn't necessary Biblical, in my opinion, it's just plain rude to ask someone to go on holiday with you while paying their own expenses and then get mad at them if they decline. No one should ever expect someone else to pay a lot of money if they don't want to for something like that. That in my opinion is really self centered and selfish.

"Hey Dad and Step Mom, my husband and I want to go on a $5000 dollar Alaskan Cruise and we'd love it if you would come with us, but pay your own way and if you say no, we're going to be mad at you!" ?????? Really?

Everything I just said of course is still outside the fact that even if they did go, they probably wouldn't have a good time, because of the tension that already exists between them.

A good response would be like, " I'm sorry darling, but right now we just don't want to spend that much money on a vacation, "We Still Love You" and want to spend time with you of course, maybe when you get back, you could come over and have dinner with us?"

Or if they live further away, the Mother in Law could offer to maybe offer to go see them at some point for a shorter less expensive trip?

Just some thoughts.
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
I guess it's because I don't understand all of the dynamics in the relationship, but it seems completely reasonable to decline on the basis of money.
Just say, "We are so thankful you asked us to join you on this trip, but it's just out of our price range at the moment." And maybe recommend a cheaper option for spending time together in the future.

If the daughter finds such a response "unchristian", that is her problem.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
thanks for the reply all. Greatly appreciated.

Money really isn't the issue. The daughter would happily pay the cost if it was. The issue is that they just don't want to go. It's a long trip and there has been tensions as a mentioned. The daughter has a tendency to think that trips, presents and money can solve the issues. The said daughter is already not speaking to myself and my wife because we declined to go. And we really aren't that bothered by it. I carry no ill will towards her and would happily invite them to our home. What gets to me is my mother in law always wants to be the peacemaker. My wife told her she doesn't have to travel a quarter of the way around the globe to keep the peace. She agrees but fears her daughter in laws response and it creating further issues.

What you guys have posted so far is a great start. My hope is when I see my mother in law again I can open the Bible and show her some scripture that shows her that being a Christian doesn't mean being a door mat to an unbeliever.

Thanks again!
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Brother, you make mention of your mother in law's feelings, but what about your father in law? Is he a believer? Whether he is or is not, is part of the problem that your MIL doesn't want to cause friction with her husband if he is more inclined to go?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I'll be a contrarian for once. It sounds like the daughter is willing to spend generously in order to have a vacation with her family. Now that doesn't oblige the family to take her up on it, but wouldn't the best construction be that she is trying to extend an olive branch and really wants to give her family something nice? It's understandable (though not commendable) that in such circumstances she would feel rejected when the vacation offer is declined.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for all the replies guys. Ruben made a good point in saying why the daughter could be upset. But still, this trip isn't just a short jaunt away. It's a long flight for two weeks a very long way from home. That was the main reason I didn't want to go.

The father in law is a believer and he wants to go to keep the peace.

We haven't actually seen the daughter in law for almost 5 months.

What it all comes down to is things haven't been to swell the last few years between that side of the family, no one really communicates besides what we hear about the daughter in law talking about the mother in law behind her back and then all of a sudden she wants us all to travel together for 2 weeks, 5600 km away from home. The point I was making to my mother in law is there is no Christian obligation for her to go on this trip. If it was a short weekend getaway or something, that's one thing.

Either way I think it will all come to a head this week, as it's getting to the point where a decision has to be made.

Thanks again for all your replies and God bless!
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
The father in law is a believer and he wants to go to keep the peace.

Wouldn't this actually be quite an important consideration, as far as what a christian wife should do?

Certainly not saying that settles the question, I just realised it was strange that what the husband wanted to do wasn't addressed in the discussion.
 

gordo

Puritan Board Freshman
You may be right satz. I think what it will come down to is the mother in law doing it for her husband, who dearly wants to go away with his kids, no matter past issues. If things get better, that's great. If the trip turns out to be bad, then at least she went and can move on from there as there probably wouldn't be another trip again.

But yes. It has seem to become much clearer over the last weeks that the wife's decision should be based on her husband more then anything.

Thanks all and God bless.
 
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