If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink.... --Romans 12:20
True hospitality crosses every barrier. The hospitable heart acknowledges that hospitality does not depend on the worthiness of the recipient. It is a gesture of grace, goodness, and generosity that must be extended to all if it is to be fully genuine. It is tempting to exclude those whom we do not like, those who have hurt us, those whose very lives have undermined or diminished our own. It feels somehow imprudent to welcome such people into the circle of hospitality. “Surely,” we tell ourselves, “they will think they have gotten by with something and may even feel they have been given permission to mistreat me again.” When we give in to this attitude, we actually close the flow of grace into our own lives. We begin to live with the same gasping breath as those we have sought to exclude.
When we act counter-intuitively and open the door of hospitality to welcome everyone in, we begin to feel the soft wind of God’s Spirit blowing through us. What we thought would be too difficult or would leave us excessively vulnerable, in fact, becomes our joy. We find that the hospitality we have offered has not only expanded our heart, it has helped us act like God and become more hospitable to ourselves. We find that the hospitality we were impelled to share with our enemies is not really so much for them as it is for us.
O God, your generosity of hospitality never departs from me even when I have turned away from you or betrayed you. Help me share that same hospitality with others.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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