Answers

By   •   September 6, 2013   •   Topics: ,

Q:

My mother died a few months ago, and I can't believe how much squabbling there's been over her estate. She didn't have much (and she also didn't have a will), but it seems like everyone is trying to grab as much as they can. Why are people so selfish?


A:

One reason I wanted to reprint your letter is to encourage every reader to do everything they possibly can to avoid situations like this. God is not honored when conflicts like this break out, and unfortunately, resentment and jealousy (and greed) can poison a family for years to come.

Even if we have very little, it’s still better to make our wishes known through a legal will than to leave a legacy of conflict and bitterness behind. In Old Testament times, a number of laws dealt with inheritance, partly to avoid controversy. Jesus had nothing in the way of possessions, but before His death He made sure that His mother, Mary, would be taken care of (see John 19:25-27). The Bible says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22).

What can you do? First, don’t add to the problem by demanding things that others clearly want. Yes, you may lose something that has sentimental value to you, but it’s better to do that than to lose a friendship. Perhaps your example will encourage others to do the same.

Then pray for your extended family. Right now, they aren’t at their best and they need to realize it and not let things take the place of Christ. Above all, never forget (and urge others in your family never to forget) that when we know Christ, we have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…. kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

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25 Comments

  1. Uche G U N says:

    Godliness with Contentment is huge gain.1 Timothy 6: 6. It makes one focus on what he possesses and not what he can gain from others. Here,forsaking material inheritance for the sake of building relationships with his family is important.

  2. joanne says:

    at the time of my mother's death, my brother (only sibling) who lived out of state, did not even hug me or show any emotion. he was more concerned that the house was not presentable to guests, than my feelings. but God is good!

  3. Christina says:

    What people may leave you in this life on this Earth is nothing like receiving life with GOD for beleiving in Jesus Christ and living like HE taught. God Bless You,~Christina~

  4. Ann says:

    My father n law has probably limited time left. The biggest part of the family wants to work together .We keep it all in prayer.

  5. Dana says:

    We lost my dad in March and the greed came out so quickly and with some of the family that is Christian. I found that w are human and that can happen but to focus on the Lord instead knowing my dad is with Him.

  6. Lisa says:

    Amen and praise the LORD Who meets all of our needs in His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

  7. Helen says:

    I really like the scriptures that address this situation. We can always find answers in God's Holy Words! And Amen to your wise and Christ-centered counsel Mr. Graham!

  8. Jack says, says:

    The youngest of A pore family, 5 children, Now Married, with families, The last parent Dies, All possessions were sold, To pay depts., and Funeral expenses, Cost to much, All families, Paid equal amount, to cover cost. Friends For ever, Thank GOD.

  9. Esther says:

    I have family like that also and I know that they are very greedy. I have nothing of great value to leave, but when I pass on I will leave to each of my children just what I think is necessary. Thank you very much.

  10. BOB says:

    I AM SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR LOSS AND THE BICKERING OVER THE ESTATE. MR GRAHAM'S ANSWER WAS RIGHT ON. I HOPE AND PRAY THAT MY HOPE WILL BE THE GREATEST REVIVAL IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY. GOD BLESS YOU BILLY!