1 Peter 4:8-9: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
When I was growing up, I used to get in trouble on a pretty regular basis. I was the youngest of three siblings, with two old sisters. I always had plenty of eyes on me, and I was pretty rambunctious. Whenever I would get in trouble, my mom would always make me go and apologize to my sisters. I remember grumbling internally as I would stumble up to them and mumble, “I’m sorry.” Then I would get told to “Say it like you mean it!” and I would muster up the energy to sound convincing, all the while grumbling inside.
I think in some ways, this is how we can view hospitality. We may feel like we should do it and try to put on a good face, but internally we feel stressed and overwhelmed. If I am honest with myself, I sometimes feel maxed out in terms of time, money, and emotional bandwidth. After a long day or week, I am not looking to reach out to our neighbors or invite others into our home. The thought of opening up our home, or taking the time to be hospitable can cause me to grumble internally. I think we can all think of excuses or just flat out feel too tired. While it is important to have good boundaries and balance, we still can get in a rut of either avoiding our neighbors or offering hospitality, but with a grumbling heart.
Later this week, we will look at how we can leave margin in our lives and we’ll present some creative ideas to show hospitality to others. But today, really consider what comes to mind when you think about being hospitable. Does it cause angst? As Americans, we can all fall into the pattern of viewing it as an inconvenience to our calendar, cost to our bank account, and invasion of our privacy. What’s your inner narrative when you think about offering hospitality? This is not meant to bring shame, but rather to cause us to critically reflect on our lives and mindsets. What specifically is hard for you when offering hospitality? What comforts or fears are you holding onto? As you wrestle with these questions, think of a time when someone showed you love and welcomed you into their home, even if they were busy. How did that make you feel? Could you offer that same love and warmth to someone in need?
By Billy Berglund