How to react to the conflicts of your close relative?

With or without our desire, each of us becomes a witness of different conflicts that can appear in the families of our relatives. In this article, I will answer the question that I received from a person who has just seen such a conflict and wants to know what to do:

My sister got married to a Roma boy, repented, they had a daughter and live at his parents’. I don’t want to intervene in their relationship, but today I saw my sister with red eyes. How can I help her, since he doesn’t want to move and rent?

If your sister didn’t tell you anything and didn’t ask for your advice it is wrong to draw the conclusion based on your suppositions. Anyone who wants to help solving a conflict must take heed of the words from the Sacred Scripture that says:

Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. (Proverbs 26:17)(NASB)

Don’t take this verse as an offense; by no means do I want to say that your sister, or her husband, or her parents-in-law are dogs. What it means here is that you are exposed to a danger if you take part in a conflict that doesn’t concern you. If you’ve seen your sister weeping, pray to God to give her wisdom to know how to speak to and behave with her husband and her parents-in-law. If she asks for your advice, be very attentive in how you advise her and talk with her from the Word of God.

Even if the Scripture doesn’t tell us the reason, surely there was one for why Moses sent his wife, Zipporah with his two sons from the Sinai wilderness in Midian to her father Jethro. The way Jethro handled it teaches us a lot of wisdom about settling conflicts and misunderstandings our dear ones have. Jethro realized there was a reason why Moses sent Zipporah with the children so he did not hurry to charge Moses or defend Zipporah. He decided to take Zipporah with her children and go back to Moses. When he arrived there, he did not rebuke his son-in-law for sending Zipporah at home. He behaved wisely, and the next day he stood to observe what Moses did. After observing carefully, he realized that the way the work was organized did not leave Moses any time for his family. It was only after this, that Jethro came respectfully and gave him a good advice which Moses received, brought before God, applied, and used to solve not only the family problems but also those that he had in the leadership of the people. This story is written in chapter 18 of the book of Exodus. I invite you to read this chapter and remember how Jethro solved the bad situation in the marriage of Moses and Zipporah.

I suppose you’ve read Ion Creanga’s “Amintiri din copilărie” (Childhood memories). The author describes a quarrel that his parents had when his mother wanted to send him to school, and her father resisted, believing it would be a vain investment. The argument was growing in the presence of the mother’s father, David. I find it very wise what Ion Creanga’s grandfather did. Without accusing the daughter or the son-in-law and without favoring one or the other, he began to tell how beneficial it was to send the other sons to school because they had a good teacher. He said he would gladly take Nica (Ion Creangă) to the same good teacher and pay for his teaching. In doing so his deed solved the conflict.

God help you and give you wisdom in how to be impartial and really help in solving the conflict.

Translated by Liza Birladeanu.

Read this article in Romanian.