I’m trying to do what is right, but my mother is spreading gossip. What do I do?
I am a Christian. Here's the situation that concerns me. My family and I, including my sister who is involved in an adulterous relationship, lived together in one house. My parents and my sister are not Christians. However, since my stand in the matter, things at home started to get out of hand. On informing my parents about what the Bible says regarding adultery, they agreed that it's ungodly, and attempted to instruct their daughter. She never listened and continued dating this man claiming they loved each other.
Time passed on, and my parents now seem to be okay with the two of them dating. During all this time, I still kept on trying to instruct them in love. Then the man started to come home and spend time with my sister. He eventually made it a habit, and now he's there for the majority of the day. My parents now don't seem to be bothered by it as they grew fond of this man.
I couldn't bear it any longer, as I considered that I'm a Christian, and I have a good reputation in the church. I was being provoked to getting angry most times because of the situation and would always end up in arguments with my family, who now defends this divorced man and my sister. They accuse me of not wanting to see my sister happy. My response was that "I do want to see my sister happy and I love her, but she can find happiness with the right man who isn't committing adultery."
Things were not getting any better so I decided to move out of my parents' home. They didn't want me to go and accused me of over-reacting. I did eventually leave but I told the preacher at my church about it. He advised me that if I leave, I should leave on a good note with my parents as the Bible instructs us to honor your father and mother. I agreed and sat down with my parents and explained the situation of why I'm leaving. It's because I'm always being provoked into anger because of the adulterous situation at home and it hinders me in my service to God. They understood and wished me the best.
Now, the question was where was I moving to? I had gotten an apartment, even though it's costly, it was worth not being at home to face all the drama there. However, I have been engaged to the woman I love for almost a year. We're both Christians and go to church together. We had set a date to be married soon. With all this going on, my fiance knew of the situation with me at home and how it had to come to my finding a place to rent. We have been trying to save for the wedding, so my renting would make it hard for us to save money for the wedding.
Her dad owns two apartments downstairs where they live. They live upstairs and the apartments are downstairs fully equipped with a kitchen and bathrooms. She related the situation with her dad who offered to help out in my situation. He suggested that I take one of the apartments he has and pay my own electricity bill. I hesitated because I didn't want to involve them in the situation, but he insisted. So I took the offer. I have been staying in that apartment for some days now on my own. He told me I can stay in the apartment until my fiance and I get married. Upon saving for the wedding and getting married, we can move down into the apartment where we can live until we can save money again to build our house. My fiance and I because of the nature of the situation, have now decided to push up the date for our wedding to an earlier date.
I called my parents and told them what was going on and where I will be staying now and even invited them to see the place. They came and my fiance's family offered advice to them on dealing with the situation with their daughter at home, but they didn't take it because they said they just want their daughter to be happy.
Since then, I visit my parents, checking on them to see if they are alright. But anytime I go to visit them, the divorced man is there with my sister and my family is hanging out with them. My parents invite me in, but I chose not to. I just say "Hi" to my mom and then leave. This kept happening for some days, and my mom grew bitter in the way I was with them. I explained to my mom that I love my parents a lot, I want to see them and wish things were back to normal, but anytime I come to visit, the man is there inside the house.
My mom eventually couldn't go on with the relationship she now had with me, accusing me of having hate in me, and she accused me of not considering her my mother, etc. Saying hurtful things to me when the truth is, I kept telling her I love her and wish they would make things right and repent. I kept telling her that I wish everyone to be happy, but if my sister continues to see the adulterous man, she won't find happiness, and neither would they.
My mom still didn't like how the relationship with us was going so she contacted the preacher in my church and told him that I have a serious problem of hate and rage inside me. She went on to tell him that I moved out, which I spoke to him already about, and explained myself. But she fabricated the idea that I was staying with my fiance and we're not married as yet, so I am guilty of doing the same thing that the divorced man is doing thereby making me just as bad.
I explained to the preacher that I am staying in an apartment, and not with my fiance. It's strictly a business arrangement. Her parents are very strict and wouldn't allow us to stay together until we're married. I have upheld my oath to God and have controlled myself sexually reserving myself until we get married and my fiance also. I told my preacher that, but he informed me that because I am doing something to offend my parents, it makes my reputation bad and I have to find somewhere else to rent.
The preacher knows about the situation with my parents and their daughter which is the real issue here, but now I am being made the target as my parents are accusing me of staying with my fiance and not being married as yet. I don't know what to do as if I go to rent somewhere else, I can't save for the wedding. My fiance and I are disappointed by the actions of my parents for manipulating the preacher into thinking that we're staying together when the truth is, we're not. We explained to the preacher that I live in a separate apartment, and I even pay my own light bill. And my fiance lives upstairs with her parents, who are very strict about the situation. But the preacher holds to the fact that I am an offender to my parents' way of thinking, so I must move out and rent somewhere else to avoid any evil spoken of me.
I need your advice on what to do because I can't afford to rent if I desire to save for my wedding and building my house. My fiance and I try really hard to live a pure decent life, and we are positive that we are right on track, but when these false accusations are being made about us by my parents who continue to harbour this adulterous relationship with their daughter in their home, it becomes hard to deal with it emotionally when these accusations are now misconstrued by the preacher in church.
I know this is a long story for you to read but I really don't know what to do, as I am now being targeted by my own people.
Let's unravel this mess a piece at a time.
You started out with an expectation that could not be met. Your parents and your sister are not Christians. The motivation to live righteously is not there. "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:9-11). Yes, your family is in the wrong. This is just one issue among many. Your sister is in for a hard life and your parents are helping her condemn herself.
You made it known what is wrong and why. They disagree and there is nothing more you can do about the situation at the moment until they decide differently. One of the problems is that you are trying to force them. That doesn't work. They have to want to change. The only person you can change is yourself.
I don't blame you for wanting to leave the constant reminder of sin. And now that it is getting close to the time for your marriage, it is appropriate for a young man to strike out on his own. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). The apartment situation sounds like a good solution. Your preacher is in the wrong in this case.
Your mother is feeling guilty about the situation. She knows she has driven her son out because she prefers her daughter. She knows her daughter is in the wrong. But she can't face that. She would rather pretend that there is nothing wrong. However, she cannot because you have become a constant reminder of the problem. Therefore, she blames you for what she has caused. It is typical human behavior.
When Noah entered the ark, the writer of Hebrews noted, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Hebrews 11:7). How did Noah condemn the world? He didn't cause the flood. But his entrance on the ark demonstrated that God could be followed. It removed all the excuses the rest of the world gave.
When a Christian does what is right, even without a word, the world reacts with hatred.
- "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).
- "It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!" (Matthew 10:25).
- "In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you" (I Peter 4:4).
What you are doing as far are your living arrangements is not sinful. You are doing no harm to your reputation -- your mother is doing that. Again, the preacher is in the wrong here. A person's thoughts on a matter, parent or not, does not determine whether a situation is morally right or wrong.
What I would suggest is that you continue with your living arrangement and your wedding plans. Continue visiting your parents, but stop expecting them to be something they are not. Encourage them, when you have opportunities, to make better decisions and to commit themselves to Christ. They know you disapprove of their support of your sister. Your sister knows you see her choice as being harmful. There isn't much more you can do.
I would casually tell your mother that you look forward to having them there at your wedding, but sadly unless she stops trying to ruin your future wife's reputation with lies, they won't be a part of the wedding or your children's lives. Be clear that it is not a threat but a statement of reality. The choice is fully up to her.
Similarly, let her know that you would love to visit longer, but it pains you to see your sister's adulterous lover. So if they would be so kind as to let you know when he isn't around so you can visit, you would appreciate it.
In other words, you determine what you can do in good conscience. You calmly let others know that these are your limits and why. You then offer to do what you can. If others refuse, then that is their choice, and you go on about your business. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil" (I Peter 3:15-17).
Thanks so much for advising me on my situation. I truly appreciate it a lot. I love my parents and I just wished that everything would be okay. I will continue to visit them, and I am indeed inviting them to my wedding. I just want to do the right thing. I know we are called to live righteously at all times, even when being persecuted, and that is my aim. Thanks a lot for your help and continue in the good work you are doing. God bless.