Living closer to my sister was great, until it wasn’t

I have sadly had a few really, really hard conversations over the past year with one of my sisters. We have not lived near each other for most of our 50 adult years. That changed about 2 years ago; we now live 3 miles apart.

We were always “close” and always thought we were similar in many ways. Except the one that is by far the most important of all: Faith.

I came to know Christ around the age of 15 and slowly but surely, it completely changed my life. Born third of six children in a very poor family, we had no religious heritage at all. How Jesus found me is a story that brings tears to my eyes still, to this very day. It just changed everything.

Still, my life has been mostly difficult. Still, Jesus never let go and it did not take me long to know how good He really is. I hung on for what sometimes seemed like… for dear life.

My sister married a Catholic, converted to Catholicism, and raised her children in the Catholic church. After 25 years of a very dysfunctional marriage, she walked out and never looked back. She entered a season of what I can only call promiscuous, all while serving in her new (quasi-Catholic) church. Eventually, she moved 2000 miles away and settled into a new life. Finally, interestingly, she landed in a solid, good, evangelical church. She seemed to embrace it all and slowly her talk sounded more and more like she really might be a Christian.

I was glad, but always wondered when/how she entered this new life. She talked like a Christian, and well, mostly, behaved like a Christian.

However, that was true only when we lived far away. Now that we live so close, we got together often. Up close living began to show cracks in her story. My husband and I decided to have a conversation and ask her point blank, to tell us her story of conversion. Problem was, it didn’t make sense. As time went on she created different stories, different versions, and added/subtracted things. Finally my husband and I had to just acknowledge to each other that… we don’t know if she has ever been saved. Where is the evidence? Fruit? Repentance for sin?

It was hard to miss the lies that were coming from this sister all the time. Sometimes it was even on little things that didn’t really matter. The day came when my husband and I decided to gently, softly confront her with some of her lies. We were especially concerned with her salvation, plus her influence of the rest of the family (most of whom are not saved). Her life was not a good representation of Christ.

Over this past year, we have had a few of these hard conversations with her. At first she thanked us but nothing changed. After a couple of these conversations, she just began to get angry. She never admitted to any lies and has only dug her heels in deeper. She seems to be stuck on being always right, no matter how glaring the evidence is.

My apologies for this being so long. Any comments are welcome. At this time, we just pray for her – daily, as we always do for family members. God bless each one who reads this. Thank you for each prayer.

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    The Conversation

  1. When it comes to family, it’s good to have the long-view on hard conversations. We have to imagine there will be a series of them, hopefully interspersed with affirming conversations. We often think that coming to Christ and spiritual growth are a straight-forward linear process and for some believers, they are. Others meander or seem to spiral with their growth. I accepted Christ as child and it was genuine but I didn’t receive sound teaching. So, when I entered Christian college, many considered me unsaved because I didn’t know the right answers to their questions and my life was marked by immaturity. Some of them challenged me with love, others dismissed me as a poser. Thank God for those who challenged and stuck with me!

    • Anonymous says:

      Realizing that Jesus works in His unique ways , saving comes in many wildly wonderful stories. I think that seeing that the road is not always a straight path, keeps us giving the people we know back where they belong… to the One who knows and loves them best. Take heart and continue to pray, never mind if they know all the right words!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

    And Matthew 18 says, ““If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.”

    Ezekiel 33:8: When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.

    This can’t be just what I think. This is hard, and needs scripture to guide any decisions. No one really wants to do this. It’s a really hard conversation. But what do we do with these (and other) Bible verses?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lori,I am sorry that your sister doesn’t seem to be walking in The Way written in Acts, which our church is currently studying. She doesn’t seem to truly know, accept or be trying fully to live in the Truth. I have a woman, who is connected with our family by marriage. She has some behaviors of being a narcissist. These people possess a sense of importance and uniqueness that they take to extreme. They fantasize, always talk about themselves, sense of entitlement, take advantage of others…This woman has become difficult to have a normal conversation with. Your sister probably has a deep hurt that she may or may not even be aware of. She sounds like she could use some professional Christian counseling and healing. And it seems like you and your husband have done everything that you can to help. The Lord knows all this. Sometimes we get to points in relationships where we need to love from afar. Your sister remains in your prayers and as you feel led, you can invite her to church functions or to your home for a limited amount of time for tea or a light lunch. God give you wisdom and have mercy on your sister. In His Grace, Roxanne Pierce

    • Sound counsel, Roxanne. Just as a point of information, this isn’t my post. This was posted by an anonymous reader. I don’t have a sister. I do love your counsel, however. Wise. Like David taking space from King Saul when he started throwing spears.