What happens when the devil encourages a family member to make bad decisions and behave in inappropriate ways? Should you interfere? And if you do, what happens when they don’t appreciate it? Do you support and continue to love this person or do you withdraw from them until they change their decision.
Back in September we lost my father. His condition finally got the better of him and he slipped away in his sleep. Mind you, he had a good innings, making 81 years of age. It was so strange – one minute he was there and the next he wasn’t.
When we left the hospital after he’d passed, I was absolutely stunned to see the world still moving. I had expected that the whole world would stop, given my world felt like it had. But people were still going to work, buying fuel, ordering coffee...everything just went on as normal.
I have been struggling to cope and had just assumed that everyone was feeling the same as me. So you can imagine the surprise when my mum sprung on me one night that she had found a new partner...only two months from my dad’s death.
Well, didn’t the world explode! And so did I! I was absolutely furious. “He’s barely dead” and “how could you be so disrespectful” were some of the phrases I hurled at her. The thing is, when you are hurting, you want everyone else to hurt too. And so I did everything I could to hurt her. Besides, my dad deserved better than that.
I sunk into a very dark place. Here I was, struggling with the loss of my dad, and now I was losing my mum too. The three of us had been so closely connected that I felt the loss of security.
I decided to talk to my mum about the inappropriateness of her relationship and how I felt. It was during this discussion she dropped another bombshell – he was married, still living with the wife and mum was willing to start a relationship in these circumstances. A week later, I was advised she would be spending a night with him before he went on holidays while his wife was in respite care.
When the Devil Moves In
Surely, you can imagine how difficult this situation was for me. I tried to reason with her, telling her that she was worth so much more than that. I suggested that if he was willing to cheat on his sick wife, then he would do the same to her in the future. Nothing seemed to make a difference.
I can admit to being very angry and hurt. I struggled at work, I snapped at people, I fought with my mum. Having being like best friends for so long, it was devastating that someone was challenging that.
And then I tried the biblical line. Not only was he married, so that was adultery in the eyes of the Lord, but they weren’t married, they weren’t promised and she was willing to risk her reputation for a bit of fun. She was enjoying the outrageousness of it all.
I tried reminding her that God wants marriage to be sacred, that adultery was a sin punishable in the worst way. I tried to suggest this was exactly the way the devil would pull someone away from God.
Still, nothing worked. I realised that the devil was indeed at work in her. He took all her sense, propriety and faith and destroyed it in the form of a ‘better’ relationship. So there was only one thing left to do... pray.
How to manage
My mum’s decisions were starting to affect our relationship. I was disappointed and upset about her new relationship and mum was upset I wouldn’t support her. So what do you do in a situation like this?
I came to the realisation that nothing I could say or do would change mum’s mind. Only God could do that. In the meantime, all I could do was pray and support her. I certainly don’t agree with her choices but I can support her as a person.
It also gives me an opportunity to remind her of the loving and forgiving power of the Lord and that we are His children. We can walk away but He will remain, waiting for us to come back. So, rather than continue to berate my mother, I would show her love. I would be there for her and be kind to her new partner.
The Devil in All of Us
Another thing to remember is that the devil can be in all of us. We are sinners and so it is easy for the devil to tempt us. But God loves us regardless. And this is what we need to show others.
Jesus said “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John Chapter 8, verse 7. All of us have sinned, so none of us can cast the first stone. But we can be the first one to show love.
So here’s the challenge to you – is there someone who is behaving in a manner you find inappropriate? Don’t cast them aside. Show them God’s love and forgiveness. Show them there is a better way to live. All the while, you will be giving glory to God, who loves and forgives more than we ever can.
Emma Seabrook is a Melbourne writer and edits the International young writers for Press Service International.