What do I do about my abusive father-in-law?


Good morning! I’m writing you today because I have a question. My father-in-law is a preacher at a church of Christ here. I’ve known him for over 5 years now. I am really close to my sister-in-law and mother-in-law so they have told me some things that concern me and I don’t know what to do with them.

My father-in-law has clearly shown signs of severe anger issues. He has put his hands on all of his kids, and also his wife, giving her a busted lip recently. I should add that my mother-in-law is handicapped. She can’t do much for herself. He has also yelled at his daughter multiple times over simple things like her texting/talking to boys (she’s an adult).

When I’ve previously brought this information up to my husband, he denies it or tells me it’s none of my business, that it’s his father's household, and I need to mind my business. But I feel like it is utterly wrong of him and no one in that house ever tells him he is wrong. I think that that is also wrong to not say anything. Anytime I’ve slightly disagreed with him about anything, we end up in a screaming match so I would never try talking to him about this myself, nor do I know if it’s appropriate for me to do so.

I don’t know what to do or how to move forward. I could really use your advice! I hope to hear from you soon!


Just because a person claims to be a preacher, it doesn't mean he is a good man. Just because a person claims to be a Christian, it doesn't mean he is living a Christian life.

The difficulty is the evidence. The family is covering up the man's sins. Thus, even though you can turn in a report against the man, if no one verifies the report, the police won't be able to do much about the problem.

If this is a large enough congregation to have elders, you can turn the matter over to the elders. If there are multiple men, you could ask one or two of the independent men to go with you to talk to your father-in-law. The aim is to establish awareness that the problem exists so that something can be done about it. What is most likely to happen is that the family will turn against you to protect the man.

What won't work is having a screaming match with a man who is unable to control his rage. Things will quickly escalate out of control (Proverbs 29:22; 22:24-25).

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