How patient are you supposed to be with someone who has had a real need, but ends up taking advantage of you? My nephew moved in with us over a year ago while going through a difficult divorce, but now he shows no sign of moving on with his life. What can we do?


I’m thankful you’ve been concerned for your nephew; he has gone through a very hard time, and no doubt you’ve gone the “second mile” in trying to help him (as Jesus urged us to do in Matthew 5:41).

However, you and your husband must be careful that you don’t end up hurting your nephew instead of helping him. Hopefully this last year has been a time of healing, but it would be easy now for him to keep on avoiding some of the hard decisions he needs to make. By allowing him to continue along the same path he’s been following, you could end up helping him avoid those decisions instead of facing them.

When we love someone, we want what is best for them — even if they don’t realize it at the time. Ask God to give you an opportunity to talk honestly with your nephew about his future. Tell him — gently but firmly — that you believe the time has come for him to begin making some decisions, and suggest he make a timetable for doing so. If he is too depressed to make decisions, urge him to seek counseling (your pastor may be able to suggest someone who can help him).

In addition, encourage him to seek God’s will for his future. God loves him, and once he realizes this, his life will never be the same. The Bible says, “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).