The Spiritual Works of Mercy

Three of the seven spiritual works of mercy are to admonish the sinner, to forgive all injuries, and to bear wrongs patiently. I am trying to understand how to live that out with respect to a very close relative who most likely has a severe personality disorder, but can at times, be so genuine. I love her, and I want the best for her, but at present, she is not allowed to visit or call on the phone or speak to my children. It has been this way for over a year now. She has not even seen my youngest child. And this is one of several times in my adult life that I have had to go No Contact. It is agonizing. I don’t know what is the godly approach. I am following the guidelines laid out in the book “Boundaries”, which claims to be Biblically sound, and which was recommended by many of the great people here at CAF for my situation.
How do the works of mercy apply in a situation where one of the people are mentally ill? Any thoughts?

Are you able to visit her or spend time with her without your children present? Is that an option?

Unfortunately, not at present. For one thing, the rules are in place for my protection even more so than for my children. For another, we live hundreds of miles apart. I am doing what I can, maintaining contact strictly via written communication (Facebook and texting). But my main concern is how to continue to live out the Christian virtues and perform the spiritual works of mercy in situations where one is dealing with a person who is not completely sane or safe. Right now, what I am doing is what I can handle and what my husband will reluctantly agree to. But am I supposed to be aiming for something that requires a greater sacrifice on my part?

No, you certainly do not have to put yourself in physical danger while you have small children to care for. Pray for this person and maintain the limited written contact. Her life must be very difficult. Urge her to have faith in Christ.

I am sorry if I have the impression that there has been physical abuse. The challenge with my relationship with her is that she is not sane and she uses psychological and emotional abuse tactics to manipulate and to confuse. She has at least one personality disorder, and she has been able to push me into a “place” of confusion and despair by using these tactics on me. I can’t fully explain it, but it is not physical abuse.

Edited to add: through all of this, her relationship with Christ has seemed to change and grow. Despite our estrangement, she has joined the Catholic Church and is waiting on annulment before being admitted to her First Holy Communion. Deo Gratias!

You can forgive her without seeing her. If she is mentally ill, you cannot admonish her and expect her to process this.

As for bearing wrongs patiently-- you do not have to put yourself in a position that would lead to any type of abuse-mental, physical, and emotional.

What you can do is pray for her.

Can anyone tell me what “admonish” means

is it the same as “forgive”

Means to advise.


I guess you just Admonished me:D

God bless you

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