Ever since my childhood, my mother and stepfather have fought incessantly with each other. Their arguments are about my stepfather’s infidelity…. My mother is very jealous because she has found him talking to a lot of women. From that, she always believes that he is being unfaithful to her. They got married two years ago. I am desperate! Can you give me some advice? What I can do to help them?

Dear Friend,

We are so very sorry to hear of the kind of negative atmosphere that surrounds you in your home! In the counsel for other Cases of the Week, I have told the story of the almost constant fighting in my own childhood home. That’s why I can understand the feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach when you come home after being out for a few hours. You don’t know what turmoil you will be walking into when you open the front door. Will they be having a good day and getting along with one another, or will they be at each other’s throats, screaming and insulting one another?

God designed marriage for a number of purposes. One purpose was so that a man and a woman could provide the nurturing environment in which children could feel secure. But for you and for me, and for millions of others in the world, home was not a place of security and stability. Disagreements and discord between individuals, between groups, and between nations have led millions of children to grow up without the nurturing and security that is best for their emotional development.

War, terrorism, homelessness, poverty, and mental illness are just a few reasons why children are deprived of the security of a home. Other children are the victims of the self-centeredness, infidelity, jealousy, and substance abuse of the very ones who are supposed to be protecting and nurturing them. Our choices as human beings will help or harm those around us, just as our choices as people groups and societies will help or harm the people of the world.

God is not the one who causes war, or self-centeredness, or any of the other factors that can rob a child of a stable home. God is guilty of just one thing: He is guilty of giving each one of us the freedom to choose how we will help or harm those we love and all others who will be affected by our actions.

The Apostle Paul taught that we should not use our freedom to do whatever we want to do, but rather to keep in mind how our choices will affect others.(1) When we think only of ourselves, the consequences of our actions almost always cause harm.

Cases 188 and 358 are the stories of people who, unfortunately, have had experiences almost identical to yours. In those cases you will find suggestions on how to handle the difficult situation that you are in.

We wish you the best,

1 Gal 5:13