I need to be more forgiving in a difficult situation

I am having ongoing difficulty in truly living Christ-like concerning my Mother-In-Law, who I have always had a challenging relationship with. In the 30 years I’ve been married to her son, she has subjected me to utter hatred of my deep faith; something I really haven’t pushed on her in any way, other than affirming that I love Christ and follow His teachings (but not even discussing religion with her; she has brought it up many times, mocking and ridiculing my greatest Love). This is my question: she now has Alzheimer’s and other dementia, but continues to mock even the sign of the cross (and I understand she’s sick, but she has always done this. She is of another faith, and considering it’s part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, her behavior has always alarmed me). I am unable to forgive her for what I believe to be a Mortal Sin. I am in the informal process of Catholic conversion, being on my own spiritual journey since college. She has made it almost her life’s mission to denigrate Christ and Christianity, and I feel a spiritual revulsion when I am near her. I feel horrible saying that, but it’s almost like my own spirit protecting itself from what it’s perceiving as Evil. I found the most hateful writings concerning the Anti-Christ among her belongings when I was helping my husband sort through her things, when she had to be moved out of her condo, and into a memory care facility. I finally told my husband I just couldn’t subject myself to her absolute hate, and that I found it unforgivable. How do I move past this extremely peculiar and absolutely hateful dynamic? I have helped her immensely throughout her life, she has always been difficult and extremely narcissistic, and she is truly the only person I am unable to even remotely forgive—I try to help her just as a caring human being, but it is really trying my patience and understanding. She says horrible things about disabled people, sick people, and even those who have been nothing but incredibly kind, and loudly so they will hear her. I pray that our Heavenly Father forgives ME for having such a bad attitude, especially when she is so sick now. But she has always been on this “mission” to tear apart my religion, and even Christ Himself. Is this a Mortal Sin, and how can I help HER (and my husband, who placates her and thinks I’m being extreme in my angst), and make her stop in as diplomatic and forgiving way as possible. I just don’t think this is solvable. I have prayed for her soul, even when I’m not sure that’s even my place to do so. Again, I consider myself Catholic, even though I haven’t formally gone through Conversion through a local Church (another topic for another day). Would appreciate any advice. (BTW, she even kicked out the Memory Care Spiritual counselor that works for a Hospice service–so that tells you where she is, even during serious illness. It’s heartbreaking, but I want to spare this dear man all of her hatred and attacks. We told him it isn’t worth even trying to communicate to her. She kicks him out, angrily).


I don’t have any advice, but I’ll pray for you.

Deal with her; with morality, confidence, and direct approach to his/her natural interests. You could start by knowing his/her from who he/she is. Not by his/her actions but who he/she is.

We can’t “know” someone here on earth as humans. So to say she is true evil is not possible. But if I am getting the drift correctly, she isn’t an “atheist” so much as a pro antichrist hater of God/christianity?

Hmmmm Well you kind of have to from a human standpoint do what the family bond and situation says you should, pity her and love her despite her ways…love but no one says you have to “like” her. You can deal with her in the minimum etc…

Plus you said 30yrs marriage? So you’re at least 50ish? She should be checking out soonish?

Another faith judeo-christian??? Islam? No not really bc they dislike our version of jesus but they definitely don’t insult Jesus… so you said pro antichrist…

Satanist? Like old lady dies hard satanist???

Jesus took a tax collector and made him a disciple


Jesus whipped some evil doers…

There is little often admitted to just plain evil, we are supposed to be forgiving of sinners, but not necessarily good old buddies with satan. There is a difference between these things, and idk honestly old sick lady? Isnt it a matter of time? You know where she is going 99%

Plus, you don’t have to feel bad for getting mad when someone is straight angrily insulting God/Jesus etc… that is ridiculous. That is like the number one time you are allowed to be miffed. Do the minimum needed and walk away.

Hi abgreen,

If you can, I would just continue to pray for her. If it were me, that’s what I would do.

We’re in a situation where we’re dealing with difficulties with my Mother-in-law, too. I just try and keep loving her despite what has been happening, and I keep trying to pray for her, too.

May God bless you and your family during this stressful time for you. :grouphug:

She isn’t an atheist, and sometimes attributes her gifts with painting and drawing, to a Higher Being. So I am grateful for that much. I hate being in this position, because it makes me feel judgmental, which I despise. She is from a Jewish background, but not Orthodox. It’s not my place, nor do I ever delve into others’ religions, to understand her own spiritual journey. I just can’t take the constant mocking and attacks on my own beliefs. That is what is so painful. Thank you for reminding me to continue praying, to look for her good qualities (I really try to; they are infrequently presented in any situation); and that sometimes, it’s better to remove oneself from extreme negativity. I will be there for her, in the capacity that I can, during her illness. So grateful that she has an amazing, professional staff at her memory care facility, who have themselves already encountered her abuse (and again, this has been going on for YEARS, long before her diagnosis). I appreciate all of your thoughtful answers, and guidance. Are there any Saints that help in the intercession of something like this? Maybe mainly just for my own strength and patience at this point. She is 86 years old. If she hasn’t figured things out by now, in just being a nice person, I don’t expect anything to change at this point. But I do pray she finds peace and maybe enlightening at the end of her life’s journey. I still believe in miracles. Even now.

You asked whether her behavior is a mortal sin.

We have to make distinctions between objective sin and subjective guilt.

On an objective level, yes, her behavior might be sinful, even mortally so.

But we cannot presume to judge her. This means that we cannot read her thoughts, her motivations, or her heart. We cannot determine whether or not she is culpable for her objective actions, or whether something has mitigated her culpability.

Furthermore, we have to keep grace in mind.

I know for a fact that I have squandered God’s graces in the past. But it is absolutely impossible for me to determine what sort of graces others have been given, and I cannot gauge the level of cooperation others have towards His grace. Perhaps they have, so far, been given very few graces. Maybe if they had even half the graces I’ve been given, they’d be a living saint.

Everything I’ve just stated is absolute fact, and it should be the bulwark of how we perceive others, IMO.

Attacks on belief is ended by true reasoning. Try to ask intellectual questions to her, it may provoke a sudden positive change in relationship and status integrity.

The saint that comes to mind is St. Catharine of Siena. She was relentless in showing kindness and focusing on the Lord to help her do this. You can ask for her intercession.

Please remember that you do not have to have kindly feelings; an act of the will to do God’s will is sufficient. We cannot force good feelings. I see the right motives in you!

May our Lord Jesus Christ and his holy and Blessed Mother be with you in this trial! With God all things are possible.

What a difficult situation for you to be in. I am sorry you have had to go through this for so many years. The only thing I can offer is for you to pray for her, and forgive her behavior. It is hard to do so, but you may ultimately find peace for having done it. The Lord does send us trials.

We all need the mercy of God so desperately yet I know from experience how really difficult it is to show our mercy to others - especially family members. I have struggled with that for a very long time regarding my sister, and just recently, through years of prayer, I have been able to feel unconditional mercy for her. It is very liberating.

Almost immediately after God granted my prayers regarding my sister, I recalled this passage from the Merchant of Venice that I had not thought about in decades:

“The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: ‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown: His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew, Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;”

I discovered a way to forgive that works incredibly well. I recommended it to a friend who was unable to forgive her cousin for over a decade, and this method worked so well they are now friends again.

Anyway, I have a short blog post about it which you can read here: reflections911.wordpress.com/

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

I want to thank ALL of you for your extremely insightful and loving help and advice during such a difficult time. I am saying prayers of gratitude tonight, and you have given me tremendous strength, hope and peace. Thank you. It’s amazing to me how many loving people have the thoughtful grace through your own journeys in following our loving Father’s teachings, to be able to share with and help others. You have truly helped me to see things in a much softer, but brighter light. May Christ’s blessings and peace continue to be in your lives. (And yes, I too have a deep love of our Holy Mother, Mary—I know she asks much of us as well, and is always my respite and guide through difficult times).

Thank you for your response! God bless you on your journey to Him.

I find inspiration in you and your words. Thank you.

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