Exploring Biblical Hospitality, Part 2

Friday’s post on practicing hospitality with strangers was actually a ramble. A ramble prompted by our family’s decision to ratchet up our personal dedication to loving each other. If you can’t count on your family in a pinch, who can you count on anyway?

Remember my theme verse for this series?

1 Peter 4:9, “Practice hospitality without complaint.”

Practicing Hospitality Within Your Family

We’ve all heard the maxim, “Treat your family better than you treat your friends.” Consider 1 Peter 4:9 and weep! Without complaint, people! Practicing hospitality with each other without complaint. Yes, you’ve just padded zombie-style down the hallway for the tenth time tonight to ease your child’s fears.  Yes, you’re really too busy to stop and admire the tree frog for the hundredth time already. Um, honey, are you ever going to have time to fix the leaking pipes in the bathroom–I’m wading in here! How about, MORE homework? What do you DO all day in school?

Imagine if we treated our immediate family members with the same consideration and respect as we treat our guests! Ah the patience and teeth-gritting that sometimes requires. (Can you read between the lines here, inner complaining going on big-time!) It’s hard, even on a good day! Impatience often wells up in me with my own children, while with others, I have no problem keeping it reined in and presenting a gracious front…a harsh reality.

The Rest of The Story…

So my husband read 1 Peter 4:9 to us, and in trying to apply it to our theme of “complaining and whining” we started sharing ways we could be kinder and more thoughtful around here.

It’s pretty easy to “count the ways”. I pointed out how much more willing and helpful our older girls are when they are in other people’s homes vs here in our home. They pointed out that our before-bed prayer time is more rushed than they appreciate. (Me to them: Yeah, honeys, all kids wish they could push bedtime back indefinitely. Ha.)

So this past week some good changes have come about. For starters, my oldest has been sweetly thoughtful about taking on extra chores without being asked. She’s become a laundry sergeant. If fabric softener needs added to the wash water, she’s on the job! She’s also insisting on letting the chickens out to their coop each morning, which really has helped me out now that we’re “back-to-school”. My middle daughter is the bed-making sleuth. She takes great joy in making her sisters’ beds when they’re not looking.

But the best change of all is that hubby announced a new grand plan for bedtime. Once the girls have brushed teeth and donned PJs, we meet each night in the living room for a mini-Bible study which we wrap up with bedtime prayers and hugs while still in the living room, and then make short work of packing the kiddos off to bed with youngest still getting the special tucking in time. And all this from a discussion about how we could be “more hospitable without complaint” around here.

So what are your thoughts on the subject? Have you ever considered this “without complaint” directive specifically in light of hospitality?

3 thoughts on “Exploring Biblical Hospitality, Part 2”

  1. Ouch! Without complaining? I remember a marriage seminar where the speaker said we should be as considerate to our spouse as we would be to anyone else we were in contact with. I have a bad habit of interrupting people, but I curb it better with those outside my family. I also tend to sarcasm. Ditto with my family verses others. This is such a challenge. Thank you Mary.

  2. Man, complaining is what Americans do best. We’re constantly looking out for me first, and what we can get out of it. Are you saying we shouldn’t complain!?

    Seriously, though: This is one of the big sins of our day, and a hard one to beat too. Thanks for the encouragement and sharing what you’re family is trying to do to make a difference.

    MInTheGap’s last blog post..What To Do With a Lame Duck

  3. I have so many bad habits, Cena!!! I can let out some “zingers” w/o thinking and then oh man, flamed face later, I’m apologizing! And I’m sure I interrupt others and talk too much in groups…so many things I should be working on. Hospitality really encompasses a whole slew of gracious habits, doesn’t it? It’s easy to think it stops with being willing to open your home up to people. But it’s the attitude and heart behind the offer and what sustains you as you practice it, huh?

    Thanks for commenting, MIn, I always appreciate your well thought-out responses. I sure don’t want to raise complainers…so I better not BE one.

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