Q. My husband has been friends with “Sam” and “Rachel” for more than 30 years. While Sam and my husband have grown up to find mates, get married, and have families, Rachel has struggled over the years with a couple of marriages, babies, and single parenthood. Simply put, she makes poor choices — and her most recent decision tops them all.
Rachel has abandoned her 2- and 13-year-old sons to their respective fathers and decided to move forward with her life by marrying guy No. 3 without the hassle of the leftover children from the past. She literally told her 13-year-old, “I can’t worry about you anymore. I need to take care of myself now.” In our humble opinion, my husband and I think this is the height of disgraceful behavior, and we would prefer to have nothing to do with this woman.
While Sam is a darling man with respect for others and their opinions, the problem I need help with is his wife. Her mantra is, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Generally, I ignore her views because they come from a pot-induced haze, but I see tough times ahead. The moment I said I didn’t think much of Rachel’s decision to abandon her kids, she was yelling, “Judge not lest ye be judged!” What do I say?
A. Tell her she is totally misunderstanding the Bible. This verse is not a warning against judging an action; it is a warning against self-deception and hypocrisy. To support your position, tell her to go online to “Provocative Christian Living.” Who knows what else she may be misunderstanding? If she’s had one too many joints, just tell her, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and try not to bring up Rachel’s parenting style again.
Q. I’m having a tough time with my preteen nephew. I heard from another family member that he has been bullied in school, and I think he might be starting to lash out.
Let me give you some background on my child, which makes this issue far more difficult for me. My 3-year-old daughter is quite ill but functional. She has just finished chemo.
Over the weekend, my husband’s family came to visit. They come frequently, but during this visit, I found their son was being more aggressive than usual. He threw a ball at the back of my head, apparently trying to get me to “play.” His mother laughed. The next day, he continued this type of behavior toward my little girl. The last thing I want to do is have a rift between our families, but I have to look out for the safety of my children. Thoughts on the best approach?
A. What a really hard road you have with your little girl. I am so sorry. Not just because she is ill but also because it’s important for your larger family, you need to talk to your nephew’s parents and report what you’ve heard about the bullying, though they may already know. This will open the door to suggest counseling so his aggression does not escalate. And his teacher needs to be told.
Then you must remind them of your daughter’s condition, and perhaps all of you, together, should explain to the young boy that there is to be no roughhousing with her whatsoever. He is old enough to know what “not well” means. The priorities here seem quite clear.