A few years ago I divorced my husband because he is an alcoholic…. For two years we didn’t see each other, but then I agreed to allow him to exercise his legal right to visit our small daughter in the house where she and I live. I work very hard to support her because he keeps drinking and can’t keep a job. He comes very drunk, raises a ruckus, and batters and offends us. He has been to rehab, but hasn’t changed….

I want to know what to do, since this situation continues to repeat itself. I am likewise afraid that something serious will happen to him because of his drunkenness. Should I let him in the house? Am I wrong before God to not let him live here?

Dear Friend,

We are sorry to hear about the difficulties that you have been going through as a result of your ex‑husband’s alcoholism. We are also sorry that your little daughter has a father that she cannot respect and who embarrasses her by his behavior.

You asked us whether you are wrong before God to keep your ex‑husband out of your home. God is your Heavenly Father who loves you very much. Does He want you or your daughter to be in danger? No! Does God want the two of you to live in fear of how this man might hurt you? No! God wants you to be protected and safe. He wants the very best life for both you and your daughter.

God gave animals certain instincts to be able to protect and provide for themselves. Human beings have some instincts also, but more importantly, they have the God‑given ability to think and to reason. In the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we find that Jesus Christ taught that when one of God’s laws appears to conflict with what is best for self‑preservation or protection, there can be exceptions to the rules.

In the years before Jesus came to earth, God gave His people laws which had to be followed explicitly. When a law was broken, the consequence could be extreme. There were no exceptions. However, God loved His people enough to send His own Son to pay the penalty for the broken laws. And when Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment once and for all, a new period of history began. It is a period called Grace, in which God judges the intentions and motivations of a person’s heart more than just the person’s actions.(1) So even though the rules and guidelines of the Bible are still to be followed, there can be times when a person finds it necessary to make an exception in order to protect himself. Each of us has to pray and ask God to help us know when one of those times has come.

Take care of yourself and your daughter!

Linda and Charles
1 Mt 5:17‑47