Well, somebody has to be judgemental in the family!


#1

Might as well be me. I’m getting used to the role, actually.

I wonder sometimes why God chooses just one member of a family to try and hold the moral line. I know the value of spiritual suffering comes into it, and also of trying to spread the light and dispel the darkness of misinformation. I also know that I am supposed to be compassionate when I have to dissent from accepting someone’s behavior. I do try. Unfortunately, I am the only one, and I get the phone calls later about how awful I am for expecting everyone to live up to my standard. Like I made it up. Yeah, Jen invented right and wrong…:rolleyes:

In a family full of professing Christians, though DH and I are the only practicing Catholics, I seem to be the only one who is telling my brother (and I told his ex-wife the same before she stopped talking to anyone on our side of the family) that he should NOT be dating. His divorce isn’t even final until tomorrow, they just got custody and visitation worked out. As he has no money to fight anything (using paralegal service), and her parents are paying for her to have a high-priced lawyer, his time with his children is now very limited. So I just don’t think he needs to be subdividing what time and attention he does have to give with having a “love life.” Especially when his wife dragged some guy no one knows anything about home from a club and is now forcing this person’s presence on the children. Can’t just ONE of them sacrifice what they seem to see as their “right to be happy?” (Oh, what postmodern psychobabble nonsense, and how much trauma to children people justify with it!)

Not only has he found himself a girlfriend, she is the woman he was with before he married his wife. She lives in the next state, so in order to see her, he has to burn a lot of gasoline. He works a poorly-paying state job, can’t make his mortgage, and has child support to pay, but he can afford to spend this money on all this gas? And now, the straw that broke the camel’s back yesterday. He tells me that he is going to visit the girlfriend for 8 days. I asked him if this was during a time when he wasn’t going to have access to the kids. Like, it wasn’t his weekend. He says, “I am only going to miss one weekend with them.” :eek: Lord, if I could body-slam people through the phone…(okay, I wasn’t feeling very compassionate at that moment!)

I told him that that was exactly why I was against him dating, because now he is already, so soon, putting that relationship above the one with his children! He actually asked, “How am I doing that?” I said because he is willing to give up some of the limited time he has with his children in order to go visit her. He hung up on me, and I am not sure he will ever speak to me again.

Please pray for my nieces and nephews…they seem to have no one in their lives who puts their needs first. :frowning: I have not seen them for a month, and I don’t know when I will see them again. We live 80 miles away. Maybe I should offer to take them for a weekend now and then so “Mom” can go have fun, which seems to be all she cares about now… and “Dad” can go off with his girlfriend. :mad: Ever since their family broke up, I have been offering prayers for them… I hope God finds some way to make my prayers useful for them someday. They don’t seem to be helping a lot right now… but God won’t take away our gift of free will, and people sometimes use that so badly.

I also wish I could get my brother to remember how much we disliked our own father dating when we were children. He knows exactly how bad this can get, yet he’s still doing it…:shrug:


#2

Oh my gosh, you have your hands full. I’m sorry they put you in this position but I think Auntie’s is the best place for the kiddos right now. It sounds like those two are both reeling out of control, and running on hormones rather than logic and values. Thank God for you and that you have a moral compass.

God Bless you. I pray this family finds their way and that you are strong enough to get the kids through this.


#3

I hear you, Jen. Boy, do I hear you.

Raising hand I have been elected, like you, to be the lone voice for our Lord in my family. It’s hard, and I struggle with compassion sooooo much. My heart pours out compassion for all of the children in my family who suffer for the sins of their parents, but it feels like all my compassion runs dry for the parents (since they refuse to change their behavior and continue to damage the kids).

I have absolutely no wisdom to offer you, just an understanding shoulder to cry on. :wink:


#4

I am sorry your nieces and nephews are going through this. It’s not easy, and I hope they make it out okay. How old are they?

That said, let’s dispense with this ‘God chooses’ and ‘elected by God’ balderdash, shall we? It’s not fooling anyone: you, and others who end up the ‘voice of morality’ in their extended families (yes, TB, I’m looking at you) are that because and only because they have chosen it themselves. God didn’t elect you, you did. So if you’ve chosen that path, don’t be complaining when the consequences you should have known about come to meet you. You collectively are not Jobs or Jeremiahs; don’t make yourselves out to be their peers.


#5

OK, in my family it’s me.(hand wave) I wish I had a dollar for every time I have been called “judgemental” even over wishing I didn’t have to have a pictorial rear end in my face while walking past a lingerie shop. The ones who call me judgemental are far more so IMHO. I try to be understanding and keep lines of communication open, but once in a while I do get frustrated and blow it. There is a fine line, and it is hard to be faithful to Christ in both charity and truth. I get tired of it, but really see no option than to try for both.


#6

Geez, seems like a lot of people named Jen are chosen to be the moral compasses in families, as I am another one of them! My sister who left the church to live with her boyfriend (now “husband” that she married in a courtroom) continually tries to get justification for her lifestyle and i’m the one always telling her what she is doing is wrong. It seems like I’m the one who is always chiming “wrong, wrong, wrong” to people! My cousin who goes to weekly Mass yet takes ABC daily is never reprimanded in my family, no one will say anything to her! But when my DH and I wanted to move for his new job (which is going good!), the whole family had to call me and give me their 2 cents about why moving is the wrong decision in my life right now :rolleyes:, whatever, like they know how to run my life better than me!

I will offer prayers to the OP…and I think inviting the kids over is a good idea! Those kids sound like they could use someone that is stable for a change!! Not some “parents” that act like they are 18 again…geez, grow up people! :mad::shrug:


#7

The nieces are 8 and almost 6, the nephew will be 3 next month.
:frowning:

I know you are right about me choosing this role. I could choose to be spineless and never speak. Easier in some ways, but my conscience would torture me for not standing up for those children. I know, because when I have acted the coward to save “family peace” I pay the spiritual price of knowing I have betrayed the people I should have spoken for. I guess when I said God “elects” people, I meant that those of us who are blessed enough to know Him and hope to gain His grace feel called to try to guide others there. And sometimes that means trying to correct people. Which is hard…


#8

I’m sad you feel that way, Mirdath. Honestly, I am also very hurt by your words, and don’t understand what I did to deserve the harsh treatment.

I don’t expect you to understand my worldview, and I will not pretend to understand yours (your profile says you are agnostic, and since I have no experience with being agnostic, I cannot relate to your way of thinking). As a Catholic, I indeed believe that God calls every one of us to different crosses and paths, and while I do have choices, I try my hardest to choose His path for me and not go about my own merry little way (which, if it were totally up to me, would be a lot easier than His way).

For the rest of this thread, if you choose to use more insults, I hope you don’t call anyone else out by name; it’s very hurtful.


#9

That said, let’s dispense with this ‘God chooses’ and ‘elected by God’ balderdash, shall we? It’s not fooling anyone: you, and others who end up the ‘voice of morality’ in their extended families (yes, TB, I’m looking at you) are that because and only because they have chosen it themselves. God didn’t elect you, you did. So if you’ve chosen that path, don’t be complaining when the consequences you should have known about come to meet you. You collectively are not Jobs or Jeremiahs; don’t make yourselves out to be their peers.

So its not at all possible that God puts it upon someone’s heart to be a moral compass for a family so obviously in trouble? Your so sure the holy spirit doesn’t move this woman to speak the truth? Hmmm… I wouldn’t limit God like that.


#10

Speaking on God didn’t elect you, you did…

Actually, God guides us to the Truth. We choose to follow or not follow the Truth. That is why we have free will. Some may ignore to speak out or help our friend in need because of fear, selfishness, or many other reasons. God tugs on all of our hearts to be disciples. These women chose to be disciples because they are answering God’s call. In this case the words were used as elect or chosen. Again, we are asked to do the things they are doing.

On a personal note, I have throughout my life made comments of what actions are right and wrong to others and especially to family members and I think they get the wrong idea. Of course people get agitated with you because sometimes the things you say upset thier “way of life.” The truth hurts. I agree with the part that Jen said, I didn’t come up with these words/rules. I have had to say that over and over. People take that as judging them. I have found it easier to say to them that they are not bad, their actions are. Another word of caution that I have learned too, be prepared for them to strike back (you are hurting them with truth) at you and find faults of your own. That is why Jesus says, make sure you take the splinter out of your eye before you take it out of others (not exact words, but you get the idea). I have dealt with alcholism in my family and with all the help and compassion (very hard most of the time…bitterness creeps in) I will still get the topic turned onto my wrong doings. When people feel threatened, they want to strike back. Just try to do any help in a loving and caring matter. Remember, the kids are the ones hurting and if you over step your boundaries, the kids may be held accountable and not able to see you. That would be horrible since it seems you are their only rock Jen.

God Bless…


#11

That gave me the heartiest chuckle I’ve had all day. I hope I remember that the next time someone calls me judgmental just for making them look at their own foolish decisions.

I hope your nieces and nephews make it through this without too much damage to their self-esteem. I don’t understand why adults don’t just grow up! especially after they have children. Makes me just so :mad:.


#12

I apologize if you took it harshly; I meant it as a realistic perspective of what I see going on in that sort of family dynamic, and in my own family specifically.

I don’t expect you to understand my worldview, and I will not pretend to understand yours (your profile says you are agnostic, and since I have no experience with being agnostic, I cannot relate to your way of thinking). As a Catholic, I indeed believe that God calls every one of us to different crosses and paths, and while I do have choices, I try my hardest to choose His path for me and not go about my own merry little way (which, if it were totally up to me, would be a lot easier than His way).

But I do understand your worldview, to a point :slight_smile: I grew up in a strict Catholic family, and certain relatives have taken that particular cross on themselves at one point or another. God didn’t assign it. There is a point at which helping a relative turns into coercing him or her, and claiming one has God’s mandate to ‘help’ is well past that line. It becomes more an expression of power than of true concern.


#13

I am sorry but I have to disagree completely with your methods, mostly because they seem to be ineffective in what you are hoping to try and accomplish. I will offer my opinion not to try and criticize you but to offer you another perspective that may help your family, at least I hope it might.

I know your heart is in the right place and that you hope and pray for the best for your family members. But, is telling your brother “he shouldn’t be dating” a prudent thing to do? Did he ask your advice? I would guess that he didn’t. You were simply pointing out that he was selfish and sinning without him asking.

Remember the Pharisees** told** people they were “sinners”, many of them thought they were more moral than the sinners. Jesus knew people were sinners too…but he didn’t point fingers at them…what he did was he drew them in, he drew them closer to him with love.

Now I beleive we should try and be like Christ. Not an easy task! My sister is dating and she has children, I think it is an awful situation. I know that she is not open to my advice so I do not offer it…however I offer no outward acceptance of her behavior either such as encouraging her to date or saying nice things about her boyfriend or asking them about their vacation together with her children (yuck).

I do try and at least be polite to her so I can have contact with her children. Please consider being cordial to your brother…not because you condone his behavior, but because if he has a relationship with you where he hangs up on you, you might not get to see his children much at all or have any hope of being a positive influence on his life. Christ ate with sinners but he did not condone sin. Just because you are kind to your brother does not mean you condone what he does…see what I am saying?

Lastly, try not to see yourself as the one “holding the moral line in the family”. I know you have embraced Christ and are a loyal Catholic, but this sounds a little prideful to me and it can be a dangerous path. We all have our temptations to pride, beleive me I know first-hand and am probably no better than anyone.

I sincerely hope my thoughts have helped you in some small way. I will pray for you and your family, it is so hard to see people you love not living the life that they could live. God bless.


#14

But I do understand your worldview, to a point I grew up in a strict Catholic family, and certain relatives have taken that particular cross on themselves at one point or another. God didn’t assign it. There is a point at which helping a relative turns into coercing him or her, and claiming one has God’s mandate to ‘help’ is well past that line. It becomes more an expression of power than of true concern.

Oh please. She isn’t going around saying “God hast made me judge of ye” and abusing people. She is calling a spade a spade and most likely doing it with great love and understanding. You just can’t make sweeping assumptions like that.

Sounds to me you had someone very awful in your life who first claimed and then abused power. That has nothing to do with this case. It obvious who had the power, the family members themselves and they screwed up.:shrug:


#15

Oooooh, I like this conversation. I am in the midst of something like this myself. In my family, it is nine against one and I’m the hand waver grin

As practicing Catholics, we are called to defend the Church. Yes, be prepared for the pathetic judgemental card. It is the easiest thing for people to do when they are called into questioning.

You know, we all judge. We judge people when we pick our friends. We judge people if they listen to a particular type of music. We judge people by what they wear, etc, etc.

Then there are the things that you cannot judge: they are JUST WRONG!

Pray, pray, pray. Pray for the intercession of St. Michael, our defender in faith. Pray for the intercession of your nieces and nephews’ Guardian Angels. And remember, God’s plan will unfold on his time, not ours. He does answer our prayers, in his way, not always ours.

Keep up the good fight. Blessings!


#16

Oooooh, I like this conversation. I am in the midst of something like this myself. In my family, it is nine against one and I’m the hand waver grin

As practicing Catholics, we are called to defend the Church. Yes, be prepared for the pathetic judgemental card. It is the easiest thing for people to do when they are called into questioning.

You know, we all judge. We judge people when we pick our friends. We judge people if they listen to a particular type of music. We judge people by what they wear, etc, etc.

Then there are the things that you cannot judge: they are JUST WRONG!

Pray, pray, pray. Pray for the intercession of St. Michael, our defender in faith. Pray for the intercession of your nieces and nephews’ Guardian Angels. And remember, God’s plan will unfold on his time, not ours. He does answer our prayers, in his way, not always ours.

Keep up the good fight. Blessings!

I think that was an awesome response.:thumbsup:


#17

Actually, yeah, that’s exactly what certain people have been saying in this thread.

‘God chooses just one member of a family to try and hold the moral line.’

‘I have been elected, like you, to be the lone voice for our Lord in my family.’

God has made of them judges, prophets and moralists! God this, God that – did Gabriel come down and let them know their new job descriptions personally? This attitude is both harmful to the entire family, as it finds itself constantly watching its collective back for the uncle or aunt who is sure to let them all know just what God thinks about what everyone is doing; and harmful to the individual, to whom it grants a grossly inflated ego and a sense of divine right, neither of which he or she deserves naturally.

Yes, we are called to be family, to help each other through this life – and yes, if you believe in such a thing, on into the next. And sometimes this means concern for the living conditions and situations of our relatives and our neighbors. Sometimes we’re even right to be concerned, and that may very well be the case here. That concern, though, is absolutely never an excuse to say ‘I convey the desires of God to the rest of my family’ or to complain that ‘my family resents my telling them how God wants them to live’.

Sounds to me you had someone very awful in your life who first claimed and then abused power. That has nothing to do with this case. It obvious who had the power, the family members themselves and they screwed up.:shrug:

Show me the difference!


#18

I have watched my brother go through a very similar situation. To his credit, however, he has tried to remain present and available to his children; however, before his divorce was final he was in another relationship. So was his wife at the time. Now, both of them are ‘stuck’ with people (for the time being - and because of their own pride) that, probably, neither would be with if they had decided to use their heads for something other than for holding their ears apart.

I am one of the few practicing Catholics in the family. I chose to return to the Holy Mother Church because it is Truth, and as someone who has looked for Truth all her life (in some very strange places, I might add) once I discovered it was right where I had left it, I had no choice but to return.

Because I am not ashamed or shy about my life, my brother knows my situation and what I think of his particular lifestyle. However, my fervent prayer right now is that the Sacramental Grace he received at Baptism and Confirmation will be re-lit so that he will also return to the Holy Mother Church. To that end, I try to be a loving and supportive sister and aunt. I do not lie to him about what I feel or think, but I try to make it very clear that even as his lifestyle leads him to an unhappy existence he is still loved and there is hope.

I think some of us are called to be the moral compass of our family or group - but it is only the BRAVE ones who answer that call. In which case it is a choice we make - but it is one that we make out of love for Jesus and His Bride, the Church. And if we complain or fret once in awhile, well I guess that makes us imperfect human beings. Thank God that we have the confessional for the days we wish we had not said, “Yes” to our calling.


#19

Telling someone they are wrong about something is not necessarily being judgemental.It is about the tone you use.
You,Mirdath,should go back and re-read your own post.It seems pretty judgemental to me.
I know an ex-paratrooper who spent time in Northern Ireland and described himself as a mildly protestant atheist and he was somewhat judgemental about the Jews.Nor did he have any sympathy for people with drug or alcohol addictions.
I used to be a member of the Legion of Mary and helped out with people who were homeless because of alcohol.Some of the people who helped out were not members of the Legion of Mary and we were shorthanded.I didn’t notice too many agnostics
offering to help.
I have a gut feeling someone judged you harshly and you rebelled,tossing your rattle out of the pram.If someone in my family is indulging in paedophilia,am i being judgemental if i tell him he is wrong?


#20

Not to derail, but what in the world is a ‘mildly protestant atheist’? :confused:

Anyhow, the point Mirdath was making is that some people feel they need to be stridently, vocally judgmental (actually, ‘condemnatory’ is perhaps the better word), believing themselves to be divinely appointed as arbiters and enforcers of their notions about God’s will.

Now, if one has the sort of censorious personality that must constantly voice their disapproval of other people and everything around them…okay, some people are just like that. But conflating one’s own likes and dislikes with God’s is serious hubris.

As an aside, kindly do not speculate on my spouse’s psyche. You have no idea what you are talking about, and your gratuitously pejorative tone is uncharitable and unworthy.


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