Problems With Future Father-In-Law

Q. I really, cannot stand my soon to be father-in-law. I have no respect for him as a man, he wasn’t around for my fiance when she was little, her aunt and uncle had to raise her. He doesn’t speak his mind, he only whines about things after the fact. Being seen in public with the man is always embarrassing as his hygiene is suspect and he always manages to slop food on his shirt. I try to have compassion for this guy, but his life is the culmination of his own stupid mistakes.

My fiance still cares for him, and for her sake I put up with him; but we are hoping to move to Texas by next year and she sent chills up my spine when she told me that her dad would probably follow us down there. That might be more than I can bear. At least up here, her uncle does everything for him, down in Texas that responsibility would fall to me. How do I get past my loathing and resentment toward him? If he doesn’t care enough to take charge of his own life, why should we do it for him? I know I should show more compassion; but even when I do, I am only doing it because I feel God expects it of me, not because I want to. How do I get over this?

A. The Biblical principle here is found in Galatians 6:2; “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” I think the law Paul was referring to is Matthew 7:12, in which the Lord said in part, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

As a practical matter, you want to avoid putting a strain on a new marriage, so I would suggest your first goal is to make sure you and your fiancee are united concerning the level of responsibility you should accept for her father’s care.

Once that is decided you can begin making “contrary to feelings” choices about him. This means you choose to respect him regardless of how you feel. If you do this out of love for your wife and gratitude to the Lord for saving you, He will begin to align your feelings with your choices, and soon the task of caring for him will seem less repulsive to you. With God’s help you might even begin to like him.

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