My sister and her husband help me to understand what Jesus meant when He said that we will always have the poor among us. They live marginal lives. They just don’t seem to have the skills to support themselves. They are like teenagers in maturity despite being in their upper thirties.
My parents have always helped support my sister. Since her marriage four years ago, they built a house (in trust) for her where she lives with her husband, two very young sons and her stepdaughter. They co-signed a loan with my BIL for a truck which he has not made one payment. My dad has bought a lot of equipment that my BIL uses in his erratic handyman business. My BIL has had two regular jobs in the last four years–he can’t seem to keep a job for more than a few weeks. Their tax refund always goes for back child support that my BIL doesn’t pay throughout the year. My sister doesn’t work. My BIL won’t watch the little boys. And, she has trouble with migraines and fatigue. After her the first little boy was born, she had an aneurysm burst and almost died. Since then, she’s been rather frail. She also has a lot of anxiety.
This past winter my BIL stole some money from my 97 year old grandmother. It wasn’t the first time, but it was more than usual, and it was more obvious. Also, he is always trying to weasel money out of her. At that point my parents stopped paying their utilities and insurance and giving them money for this or that. They still pay the property taxes and the truck payment and don’t charge them rent.
They wanted to force my BIL to go to work. He also isn’t allowed near my grandma without my mom or dad present.
Anyway, their phone was turned off. They went on Medicaid and food stamps.
Here’s where I messed up. My sister has this idea that we are in a similar financial situation as they are. I don’t know where they have this idea. We live a very modest lifestyle with our one income and six kids, but we support ourselves and do fine. She’s frequently telling me that we should get medicaid–despite the fact I told her we have very good insurance through our union. And, lately, she’s been telling me that we should apply for food stamps.
Yesterday, out of irritation, I told her what we made this year. She blinked and looked humilitated. I think it comforted her to think that I was on the same financial level as she. I feel awful. I know when she heard what we make, it sounded like a fortune to her–she wouldn’t think of all the bills we pay.
I don’t know how to encourage my sister in her life. She’s so negative. I’ve stopped giving her advice and just offered to help her by babysitting whenever she needs me. But, she never asks. My husband can’t stand my BIL (well, who could?), so I don’t think we could have them over. My BIL makes my sister go everywhere with him. She has to go with him to the doctor or appointments or the store–so, they are a package deal.
Any advice? Words of encouragement?