I have been working on the hospitality study from SheReadsTruth. I’ve always categorized Hospitality as taking care of someone. Like when you have someone in your home, whether for a meal or for the night, it’s how you take care of them.
But I’m finding that it’s more than that.
This study has focused on glorifying God and living in harmony. It’s about your relationships with strangers, friends, children, and the self righteous. It’s about showing love to the people that are hardest to love.
For the Wine Women & the Word bible study I prepared a study of hospitality. The article from SheReadsTruth describes something that just happens so easily. It’s that mindset that if I work hard, get good grades, get a promotion and live upright that things would always go according to plan.
I crashed and burned too many times before realizing the fallacies of that mindset.
How easy is it to think that because we are doing good things, because I’m living for God, or helping others, that I deserve only good things to happen to me. It seems like simple cause and effect, right?
But if you’re in the same boat I am, you know that isn’t the case. I really struggle with this because when I started realizing that bad things happen to everyone I started wondering why I was working so hard for perfection. People get sick, relationships change, jobs are lost and injuries happen. It’s all part of our life experiences.
Over the past few years I started falling into the habit of thinking, “of COURSE this is happening to me.” When you only notice the imperfections in your day your outlook on life starts to look a little gloomy. Realistically, for every two steps forward we take one step back. It’s all part of trying new things, putting yourself out there and living boldly.
Perfectionism enhances self-righteousness. When you strive for perfection, you are striving for something that doesn’t exist. You can’t be perfect and it’s self righteous to think you can be. When you fail after reaching for perfection you have a much farther way to fall. We cannot expect perfection from ourselves because we are flawed and we are sinners.
The story of the prodigal son is one of my husband’s favorites. It describes a son that took his inheritance and ran off, only to squander it and sheepishly return home. He knew he did not deserve the favor of his father and was even willing to work as a servant on his land. When he returned home his father went to him, welcoming him home with open arms. The older brother was very angry and resented the fact that this brother returned home despite all his screw ups. He felt that he deserved so much more because he had acted rightly.
It’s so easy for us to see other people’s faults and ignore our own. It’s easy to become jaded when you work extra duty at work while other teachers are celebrated (**cough, something I’ve experienced lately).
Maybe you know someone that had a past of poor choices and mistakes. It may seem hard to love on them, or even hard to trust them. But in reality, it’s not our duty to hold that against them or to tell them how they should be living. If someone is making an effort to be better, they deserve to be encouraged and lifted up. This portion of Romans 2:1 sums it up very simply:
For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
Imagine being slower to judge, quick to love and open to sharing in other’s redemption. Each of us have shortcomings and judging others just condemns yourself.
Make a conscious effort to set aside your judgments and assumptions this week. Clothe yourselves with love and understanding. What tangible steps can you take? How can you show hospitality to someone that you struggle with?
I’m making an effort to show love to those not-so-trustworthy students. It’s so hard not to assume they are talking or causing trouble. I want to show love and fairness to each of them and not pass judgment on their character when they have days of struggle.
Who will you be showing hospitality to this week?
Judging others: Matthew 7:1-5
Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-32