Family members that test your patience

Dear Wendyl,

A few years ago a member of our family went off the rails and descended into a sordid life of drink and drugs, with some thieving too, which resulted in time in prison. The good news is that he has found God and is now a different person. The downside to this is that he’s out to convert us all to the particular “happy clappy” church he goes to and it’s getting really irritating. At family dinners he quickly gets the conversation onto religion and waxes lyrical about his new life, but the fact is that we’re quite happy as we are, thanks very much, and have no wish to join his church or any other. Should we say something or stop inviting him over? We’d hate to send him back to his old ways.

Flora, Wanganui

Dear Flora,

Please don’t stop inviting him over. He needs family around him even if it appears that God is all he needs. In my experience this kind of evangelical behaviour eventually dies down, and you are just going to have to practise some patience on this. I know it’s hard, but next time it happens just think about what you would rather be doing – sitting there watching his “happy clappy” behaviour or worrying about him out on the streets leading a life of crime? Next time he does it, say that you really respect and support his life and you’re happy to hear about it but you are not religious and don’t intend to be.

Send your questions to [email protected] or write to Agony Aunt, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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