Offer Hospitality

Many years ago, when my husband and I had only been married about five years, he was in the navy and spending a lot of time at sea. In fact, the year that I found out I was pregnant with our second child, he was at sea from the time I told him that I was pregnant until the new baby was almost two months old. I had to move from off base to on-base housing alone. Well, actually, I had our two year old daughter with me and a host of friends from the new church I had started attending. Anyway, it was a lonely period of time for me, but that is not the topic of this post.

When my husband came home, he told me that we had the “opportunity” to have a guest in our home, a young man who had been terminated from the navy and needed a place to stay until he could get back on his feet. Harry presented it as an chance to show Christ to someone who was searching, so I reluctantly agreed. Remember that we had been apart for the better part of a year when he arrived home with the news that he was bringing a stranger to live with us.

I wish I could say that I was a totally good sport about the situation, but from the beginning, I was resentful and not a little upset that Harry had already told the young man (I will call him Tim although that is not his real name) that he would be able to stay with us. When Tim arrived, the deal was supposed to be that he would look for a job and would stay with us while he did so. He would attend church with us and would be open to talking about God. Well, he rarely attended church, having one excuse or another about why he couldn’t go. He slept or watched TV most of the day, not looking for employment that I could tell. Harry was at work every day, so I was stuck alone with Tim and two small children. The most annoying thing was that I had a new baby and Tim followed me around and watched me nurse Scott. I talked to Harry about the problem but he offered no solution, so I finally ended up going into my bedroom with both kids, locking the door and feeding the baby because Tim made me so uncomfortable. Suffice it to say that Tim was the topic of many heated discussions between me and Harry. We ended up agreeing on a deadline for him to have a job; he didn’t get one, of course, and we told him he would have to leave. We gave him money to go back home, wherever home was for him. When he left, he said he was going home and getting a job and moving on with his life. He thanked Harry for letting him stay and then Harry took him to the bus station.

Now, the topic. I am thoroughly ashamed that I was not able to show hospitality to Tim. He may or may not have been a good guest, but he was a guest. He was not a Christian and as far as I know, he never accepted the Lord or changed his life to become productive. Nevertheless, I needed to be hospitable, but I was hurting from having a stranger thrown into my life so I reacted accordingly. Not an excuse, just the truth. I let the humanity in me overtake the Christ in my heart.

I grumbled plenty, at Harry, to God and even within Tim’s hearing. I was not a good hostess! If I had the whole scenario to do again, I would insist on written rules (a contract, if you will) and a deadline from the beginning. The fact that Tim was with us for about four months stretched the limits of my patience which were already very thin. I am not proud of how I acted, but looking back on the situation, I can see that God could have used me if I had been more willing and open to be used. One of my deep regrets from that time is the lost opportunity to show someone Christ’s love instead of my own bitterness.

We all suffer from the past and missed opportunities. I will not ever be able to get back those days with Tim, nor would I wish to do so because they were so hard for me. He complained about the food, the lack of channels on the TV, the noise the baby made, etc. But his lack of being a good guest did not allow me to be a terrible hostess. I confess today that I was a terrible hostess and pray that I have grown into someone more accepting now. I have forgiven Tim and pray for him when I think about him, not knowing what happened to him when he left except he didn’t go right home or get a job as he said he would. Mostly, I pray for forgiveness for my bad attitude and that I did not follow the scripture and show hospitality. When this verse was in my devotional this morning, it brought to mind the time with Tim and so I have shared it with you.

Have you ever had the opportunity to show Christ’s love to someone and blown it? It’s not a good feeling, is it? But you have to learn from the mistakes and move forward and that is what I have spent over forty years since then doing. Learning and moving, learning and moving.

Have a blessed day and may you find hospitality when you need it and be hospitable to others when they need it.


4 thoughts on “Offer Hospitality

  1. Vickie, most of us can remember our own encounters with similar situations and our negative reactions. Thankfully, we experience the forgiveness of a Father who never tires in allowing us to learn and move forward with His mercy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for your openness today. It is hard to admit and reveal where we fail, but may it always be an encouragement to others. May we all learn a lesson here without having to go through what you did. Sending hugs your way. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know these feelings you’ve expressed in this post. For a year my 89 year old mother-in-law lived with us. She was the sweetest woman ever but she was sick and therefore not herself. It was hard and though the Jesus in me kept me from showing my frustration to her, my husband heard plenty. I have regrets too, but God’s grace saw us through and in His mercy I am forgiven.
    I appreciate your honesty in this post. Though we carry Christ in our hearts, we are not always Christlike yet He continues to love us and use us on spite of our failures. I am so grateful for that.


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