Health & Spirit

How should we deal with my racist father-in-law?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

We were very saddened to hear of Billy Graham's passing. We will continue to run new and archived versions of his column until it is no longer syndicated.

Q: My father-in-law really embarrasses my husband and me, because he's very prejudiced against people of other races, and sometimes he even makes racial slurs around our children. We've tried to tell him to stop, but it's no use. How should we handle this? -- Mrs. M.R.

A: What your father-in-law is doing is wrong, not only in the eyes of society but in the eyes of God. God created all races and bestowed His image on all humanity, and His love extends to the whole human race -- without exception. And some day in Heaven we'll be joined with all those for whom Christ died: "persons from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9).

Although you've spoken with him about this, don't stop expressing your concern to him, as God gives you opportunity. Even if you can't change his attitude, at least you may be able to get him to change his behavior for the sake of his grandchildren. Be gentle, however; don't get angry or act as if you're right and he is wrong -- it would only make him more set in his ways. To those who disagreed with him, Paul wrote, "By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you" (2 Corinthians 10:1).

The most important thing you can do, however, is to be a good example to your children, both by your words and your actions. Teach them about God's love for all humanity -- including them. If necessary, speak honestly with them about their grandfather's attitudes, while letting them know you still love him, and so should they.

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In addition, pray for your father-in-law, that God will change his heart and fill him with Christ's love. The Bible says, "Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:11).


(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:



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