“Let love be without dissimulation.
Abhor that which is evil;
cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another
with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another;”
Let’s clear off a spot in our social gardens and allow our Creator to nurture good seeds of hospitality in us. He could turn our hearts and homes into fruitful platforms for sharing and spreading holiness if we let him.
Hospitality serves a greater purpose than just planning parties, setting pretty tables, opening our homes, entertaining guests, and having a good time. A godly spirit of hospitality should include sincere love, exclude evil, and include good. It should also involve us being “kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love” and in honour preferring (leading) one another.”
Living holy lives in hospitable settings is naturally more complicated when we involve other people, especially those who come from walks of life with different backgrounds, beliefs and behaviors. (Thankfully, God doesn’t expect anything of us that He doesn’t enable us to accomplish. Philippians 4:13)
I was always taught that standing alone for what I believe would be difficult. That was an understatement. But, I’ve learned that standing alone can sometimes be easier than trying to bend my standards to blend in with others socially.
Compromising to fit in can seem like a good way to avoid rejection, ridicule, or disrespect. But, in my experience, the consequences of compromising cost more than the acceptance is worth.
God’s standards limit my social interactions and prevent me from being able to participate in certain settings.
Abhorring evil in a group setting can feel uncomfortable when others chide you to concede. However, there’s a great sense of comfort in being able to go home, look in the mirror without feeling shame, guilt, and regret, and rest easy when you pillow your head, knowing you stayed true to God and yourself.
Hosting, with holiness, is simple when approached with a Christ-like perspective. Jesus gathered with people from all walks of life and taught the difference between good and evil. We can do the same when we use our hospitality to share our faith with sincere love in holy endeavors.
Sadly, there has been a tendency among Christians to alienate or eliminate people from our lives who are not believers. In our desire to stop our evil behaviors and habits that are unholy and unpleasing to God, we feel we have to turn our back on the people that still promote or participate in those bad behaviors.
Obviously, since we are to abhor evil, we shouldn’t make it a habit to hang around people that continue to participate in evil. And, if we’re supposed to cleave to good, making connections with people who practice Godly behaviors would be better. When showing hospitality, we can exclude evil without excluding people who need to know or grow in Christ.
We can do this by creating happy, healthy, and holy environments to meet them in. We can extend warm welcomes to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, and make them feel comfortable joining in. Jesus didn’t exclude people. He showed them mercy, understanding, and forgiveness, and taught them.
Hospitality serves a holy purpose and should include good intentions, activities, attitudes, behaviors, and entertainment. It can be fun.
Bring It Home
Is there someone, who needs the love of Christ, who you could include in your next gathering?
Praying for you as we grow together,
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