I work all day and get home very tired. Sometimes my shifts are twenty-four hours…. I live in a rented house. A relative of mine also lives there who is a university student and doesn’t help with any of the expenses. I don’t ask her for anything, except good behavior, but she mistreats me and insults me. She has an obsession with cleanliness and tries to make me feel badly for what I do in my own home….

I have thought about moving, but it makes me sad…. Deep down I don’t feel right about doing that, but living with this person is intolerable. I need some advice, please. What can I do?

Dear Friend,

We understand the dilemma that you are faced with. You want to do the kind and loving thing, but that makes you feel miserable. You can’t even arrive peacefully at your own home without worrying about the confrontations that are going to meet you at the door.

You say that your relative doesn’t help with any of the expenses. That implies that, if you were not supporting her, she might have nowhere else to go. Her financial situation definitely complicates your decision. You feel responsible for her, even though you are actually neither morally nor legally responsible.

You also say that all you ask for is good behavior, but that instead she treats you badly and insults you. She obviously takes your help for granted and doesn’t appreciate what you are doing for her.

You are actually not helping her by continuing to allow her to treat you disrespectfully. Instead, you are teaching her that she can act any way she wants without suffering any consequences. That is not realistic!

Your relative needs to learn about natural consequences. If she chooses to disrespect people, they will not help her. If she chooses not to work, she will not be able to pay for food. The Apostle Paul taught, “Anyone who won’t work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.”(1) Your relative may be a student, which is why you haven’t expected her to work. But she has taken advantage of your kindness and repaid you with misery.

Consequently, give your relative one more chance. Put down in writing everything that you expect from her, and ask her to sign it as a contract. Also, add that, if she breaks the contract, you will move or she will have to move. Then, when she does what the contract says she should not do, keep your word and move. No more chances! Show her that her actions have consequences. By so doing, you will teach her a valuable lesson that will benefit her in the future.

We wish you well,

1 2Th 3:10 (NIRV)