By   •   September 6, 2013   •   Topics: ,


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?


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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  1. Alisa says:

    Thank you! I love you and always will.

  2. Lyn says:

    Please don't keep things secret. That happened in my family and it is hurtful. Parent died 2 yrs ago and sibling in charge will not answer phone calls. Parent not buried despite his strong wishes. Already has plot.

  3. Alta says:

    Paul wrote about quarreling………that if any have a quarrel against anyone else that he would forgive it in Christ…………..and so should we, lest we be drawn into more quarreling. We believers have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven.

  4. Polly says:

    Parents of several children can prevent much of the squabbling over worldly possessions by talking about this and having a clear understanding of how their will is going to be clear and final. Those most helpful should be entitled to a bit more.

  5. Barbara says:

    This is awfully hard to do if you have a sibling who is greedy. I rely on God to help me cope with her and He has been a great comfort.