Strange Love #3

In the seven verses cited as references for the idea of hospitality (see Strange Love #’s 1 and 2) there is a sense of urgency. We should seek to show hospitality. We should not be hospitable when the opportunity presents itself, rather we should be intentionally, deliberately, proactively hospitable. Hospitality is strange love. It is loving strangers as if they are good friends. But what if you, like me, have aspects of strange about your personality? What if hospitality does not come easily? Never mind hospitality, what if any sort of social engagement is excruciating?

I am open about the fact that it is difficult for me to meet new people. I work hard at being a people person because it does not come naturally. I have created an illusion for some, but there are others who see through the smoke and mirrors. It is not that I don’t like people, it is that I fear them. I fear what people think of me. This is why I tend to keep my conversations short; at least my fear and the fact that I seem to constantly have something to tend to results in shorter conversations. I am strange. The good news about this is that my knowledge of self means I am not verifiably crazy. Crazy people don’t know they are crazy, they think everyone else is crazy? I think the same axiom holds true for strange.

There are some amongst us who are consummate hosts. They are immediately able to make a stranger feel like a friend. But this too can be smoke and mirrors. It can be the fruits of a gregarious personality rather than true hospitality. I have experienced this illusion as well and have seen the smoke and mirrors.

So how do we make sure hospitality is something genuine to who we are, that it is neither hindered by nor hypocritical to our personality?

All of us are character challenged. It is the natural part of being born sinners. The key is to become Christ like in every capacity. This week I have been meditating on a series of verses and their bearing on hospitality. These verses seem to indicate that the love I give to strangers is a path to a deeper knowledge of Christ. I want this. This desire to know Jesus deeply can only help me to overcome my fear of hospitality. Here is the passage, I invite you to meditate on it this weekend as well. Matthew 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left."

Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."

“Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


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