Twenty years ago I lived with my parents. They didn’t get along. My mother was sick, and I cared for her.
My father had a second family, and he told me to leave the house because, if I didn’t, he would. Since I didn’t want my mother to suffer if my father left, I immediately returned to the country where she was from….
My mother died fourteen years ago, and now my father and his young new wife want to come and live with me… due to the current situation in their country.
Should I let them live with me in my apartment? They have never wanted me to even vacation in their house because I don’t get along with his new wife…. The two of them still hate my mother, fourteen years after her death.
We are so very sorry for the loss of your mother and for the way that your father has treated you! First, he separated you from your ailing mother, and then, in the years that followed, he made it difficult for you to have a relationship with him at all.
Now he needs something from you, and he wants you to forget how he has treated you. He wants to denigrate the memory of your mother and to force you to live daily with the woman who replaced your mother in his life.
You don’t mention why you want our advice about your situation, but we assume it is because you care about the Biblical commandment that teaches us to honor our fathers and our mothers. (1) Consequently, you want to know if honoring your father means that you have to allow him to treat you as he pleases and then still be able to reap the benefits of being an honored father.
We believe that the Biblical commandment to honor our parents refers to much more than just a biological relationship. For example, in some families the grandparents are the ones who bring up the children. In other families, the children have been adopted, and thus have parents who are not biologically related to them. In many homes the biological father is completely absent, and the biological mother rears the children by herself. Therefore, honoring your parents means to honor those who were responsible for caring for you until adulthood.
The Bible also teaches that we are to help our economically-disadvantaged older relatives as much as we are able to. (2) However, there is no teaching that says we must allow them to live with us.
For some people and in some cultures, it seems natural for a needy or an ailing parent to be taken care of by an adult child either in the parent’s home or in the child’s home. But a married adult child is responsible first to their spouse and family, as the Apostle Paul taught. The adult child is to “leave” father and mother and “become one” with his or her spouse. (3) This teaching makes it clear that leaving your parents and living on your own is not a form of dishonoring them.
We suggest that you honor your father by being respectful when you communicate with him. If you are financially able, and he is financially needy, give him a monthly amount. Hopefully, his other family will help likewise.
We wish you well,
1 Ex 20:12
2 1Ti 5:8
3 Eph 5:31