Sorry this is so long


#1

Please tell me if I am wrong.
I am a 34 year old, married mother of two. My father is the single parent of my sixteen year old half sister. He has brought chaos into her life in many ways. My sister has never had a mother. My father has been having an affair with a married woman (mother of two boys) . Recently her husband (who they claim was abusive) kicked her out of their home. She then moved into my father’s house and it was kept a secret from me until about a week ago. I told my father that what he was doing was wrong and tried to explain to him why. I also told him that I would not expose my children to this, and therefore he was not to bring this woman to my house on Christmas. He stated that if she were not welcome, then he would not come either. My father was raised Catholic, raised me as a Catholic and is very involved in his (their) church. I knew he would be angry with me, but I also know that it is never easy to stand up for what is right. Now, no one is speaking to me. Not my father, grandparents, aunt or cousins. My grandmother is afraid of making my father angry and everyone else is afraid of making her angry.
I was hosting a family get together in December. Now no one will even reply to my emails. Am I wrong not to apologize? I stand by everything that I said. I just can’t understand why no one else will speak up.


#2

I don’t understand why you can’t understand why no one will speak will speak up.

Obviously you’re stronger in your faith than the lot of them. They still seek and need the warm fuzzies of approval and acceptance by those they love - even if those people are misguided and behaving poorly.

It’s a human condition. No real mystery.

You stand by what you said and did.
Now you invite friends and others from your parish to fill the seats your family will not be taking at your table.

You are never alone, even when your family turns against you. Just remain strong and feel the love of Jesus as you bear this particular cross. He will soften their hearts in time.

Were you right? Only you know the answer to that. In our family our mother has asked us never to let personal matters interfere with the family bond. She would rather us not address touchy subjects when we are together, no matter how firmly we believe in them. For her, it’s a matter of peace of mind. If her children are amicable with each other and with them, then when she’s gone she won’t worry about them going at each other.

I don’t buy it myself, but I respect it, for her. I honor her wish because she is my mother and so I bite my tongue more often than not.


#3

Reminds me of the parable of the king and his banquet…the invited guests wouldn’t come, so he told his servants to bring in the poor to eat the food.
Have your party, but invite those who would be alone this holiday.

All you can do is pray for them, and stand strong. You are right, they are wrong. Period. And they know it too, that’s why they’re fighting you. Don’t cave in. You may have planted a seed that will sprout a long time down the road. It’s hard being the voice of truth, but they need to hear it. God bless you.


#4

actually, THEY’RE the ones who’ll be doing the real thinking over of this particular Christmas holiday. They’ll have a long time to think it all over. . . if anything, you may end up prompting a bit of soul searching. Remember; they’ll be missing out just as you will.

Stick with your guns. I think if moral people did that, there’d be less wrecked life situations.


#5

I’m sorry you have been put in this situation at this time of the year. No one wants family conflict at Christmas.

Unfortunately you are surrounded by some very weak family members. It would be interesting to know why they are so “afraid” of upsetting your dad, and don’t stand up for what is right like you have. Does he have a mercurial personality? Does he control the family purse strings?

Sometimes when we see someone, particularly a young adult, taking an undesireable detour in lifestyle choices, it can be hard to show them love at the same time you make clear the error of the choices they are making. But here, your dad is too far down the path of life to get the benefit of the doubt we sometimes reserve for the young, rebellious and inexperienced.

He is also setting a disgraceful example and creating a chaotic environment for your sister, for whom I feel particular sadness. Do try and maintain contact and support for her without further antagonizing your father. You have made your point and you KNOW there is no way to back away from it until he changes the scandalous course of conduct which he alone has chosen to pursue.

As for the holiday, be grateful for your own husband and children and make it a special season for them. If possible, include your sister in your celebration.


#6

You did the right thing. If no one comes for Christmas-- so be it. Enjoy a peaceful holiday with your immediate family.

It’s not always easy to stand up for what is right.


#7

Thank you everyone for your support. Yesterday it was getting to me and I questioned myself, but I agree that I need to continue to stand by my decision.

Thank you!
Jen.


#8

Since everyone is being so supportive, I’ll take the other side.

Your father is a Catholic man who is involved in his church. He knows what sin is. He knows that adultery is a sin. He knows that living with a married woman is adultery. Therefore he knows that he is committing a sin. He knew all of that before you ever said a word.

Think about that a moment. He is Catholic. He knows that his sin keeps him from God. He knows that Reconciliation doesn’t require remorse, it requires repentance. He knows that he will not receive absolution for a sin that he chooses not to stop, even if he sits in the confessional everyday and says that he is sorry. He isn’t sorry. He knows that. God knows that. His priest probably knows that. If he was sorry, his desire to be close to God would be stronger than his desire to be close to this woman.

He had to choose between his relationship with God and his relationship with this woman. He chose her. Then you came along and basically asked him to choose between his relationship with you and his relationship with this woman. Are you really surprised that he chose her? I’m not.

The question isn’t whether or not your father is wrong. That is a given. Your father is wrong. The question is whether or not you were right in giving him an ultimatum. Were you?

I’ll disgress for a moment before I answer that.

I do not have an adulterous father but I do have a SIL who is a lesbian. Ever since she came out of the closet, she has had two long term, live in relationships with women. I didn’t have to tell my SIL that I thought she was living in sin. She knew. She didn’t care. The temptation to continue her lifestyle was too great.

I could not force her to live a celibate life, even though I think it is the right thing to do under the circumstances. All I could do is decide whether or not to maintain our relationship. There were valid reasons to cease contact. I didn’t want to validate her lifestyle. I also didn’t want my children to think that it was okay. It isn’t. After much soul searching, I decided to accept her for who she was.

Why? Because I love the sinner, even though I hate the sin. God knows that I have committed sins that I will be judged for. Whether or not they are greater is for Him to decide. In the meantime, I asked my SIL to respect me enough to not flaunt her lifestyle in front of me or my children.

When my boys got old enough to ask, we talked about how it was okay to love their auntie because she is family. She is also a pretty cool person. It is okay to like her partner as long as she treats them well. Liking them does not make what they are doing okay. The bible is clear on that.

I told my children that, as parents, their dad and I make rules. We expect those rules to be followed. When they break rules, we punish them, even though we love them very much.

God is a parent. He gave us rules and expects them to be followed. If we break them, He will punish us, even though He loves us very much.

Just as I decide how to punish them when they break my rules, God will decide how to punish people who break His rules. Because we love and respect God, we should leave it up to Him to decide whether or not their auntie should be punished and how He plans to do that. In the meantime we should love her and pray for her. Thanks to my sinful but beautiful SIL, my children know the difference between loving a sinner and loving the sin.

That brings me back to your father. He is a sinner. Repudiate him if you think it will help. I don’t. I think it is better to take him aside and say, “I love you dad. I don’t love what you are doing and I don’t think you are setting a good example for all the little ones who look up to you, but I still love you.”

“I know that you think you are doing the right thing by moving your girlfriend into your house. You love her. You want to share your life with her and protect her from harm. Your heart is in the right place. I would die for the people I love and I think you would, too. But it isn’t your life you are risking, it is your eternal life. Adultery is a sin. The consequences are too high.”

“I love you too much to let you make that decision lightly. Maybe I did it the wrong way but my heart was in the right place, too. Try not to hold it against me.”

“God loves you both. He has a plan for you. I hope one day that you can trust Him enough to let Him guide you to that better place. He’s the miracle worker, right? In the meatime, I will pray for you both.”

“I don’t think you are making the right decision but I respect your right to make it. That’s what free will is all about. If God can trust you to come back to Him, so can I. If loving you means loving your girlfriend I will open myself up to that”

Peace be with you, Jen, whatever you decide. I’ll pray for your family.


#9

Jen,
It is important to stand up for what will be healthiest in a family. He has shown with his actions that he knows he is in the wrong and that his top priority is not caring for you and your children, or for your sister.

You are wondering if you did something wrong and I don’t think that is a question anyone on this board can answer because it has to do with the actions you took and the motivations in your heart.

Did you at all times speak charitably? Stay calm and remain open and loving? Be clear and firm and still gentle? Make your intentions consistent, not just picking on one person?

Were your intentions to protect your children? To make it known to him that you love him and will NOT stand for him to hurt himself? To care for your younger sister?

Only you can honestly answer these questions. Sometimes love is tough. It’s easier to give in, to be blind, to ignore things and brush over them. But that can hurt the ones you love the most. What he is doing has consequences for many people, from her husband to her to her children, from him to his daughters, even your children. By standing up, you can see how many people are affected.

Don’t get into the win everyone over mode, either. You mention that others did not answer emails and won’t take your side. If you make it into that, your intentions will look muddy to others. His business is not the grapevines current topic, KWIM? What you say to him should be private. It sounds like the family dynamics are unhealthy; no need to add fuel to the fire.


#10

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