“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have show hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13: 1-3 NIV)
How simple are these instructions? Keep on loving, keep showing hospitality to strangers, keep remembering those in prison and keep remembering those who are mistreated! Who are our brothers and sisters? Who are the strangers we should be nice to? Who do we know in prisons? Who is being mistreated?
Our brothers and sisters are everyone in the Body of Christ–no matter what denominationalism is recognized and honored, all Believers–are joint-heirs with Christ, we are the spiritual seed of Abraham, and children of the Most High God. If then, we are all children then we are all brothers and sisters in The Lord! I love meeting my brothers and sisters who I’ve never met–at car rentals (had a great time of fellowship at Enterprise once with two brothers in The Lord upon our first meeting), in supermarkets, at the park, in parking lots, at phone stores, online, in restaurants–everywhere I venture, I meet a new brother or sister and we just rejoice like we’ve known each for all our lives. In the spirit–we have–which is why we have no problem loving one another.
Showing hospitality to strangers should never be a problem for those of us who Believe since we never know who it is we’re treating right. And it shouldn’t matter. If we treat all we know the way we would be want to be treated, they will know who we are. And I don’t mean we should treat people who are celebrities or politicians with more respect than any other person with whom we have no relationship. The beggar on the street deserves our respect just as much as any other person of any type of status. I’m not advocating being foolish, but in exercising the wisdom God has so abundantly given us, in all things. I realize that sometimes, we can not, avoiding certain people is an exercise of using wisdom rather than putting ourselves in danger. We must be wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove–not being hateful, but mindful of our safety and staying out of harm’s way. The enemy is a master of deception and some of his demons will try to use this instruction to worm their way into our lives and destroy everything we’ve worked to accomplish.
Remembering those in prison means so much more than just empathizing with those locked behind bars a prison cell. Some people are prisoners of their mind because they don’t have the mind of Christ are constantly at odds with themselves. Some people are prisoners of their addictions and don’t know how to break loose. And some are prisoners of spouses, parents, or children–locked into situations they cannot escape. We must continue to pray for them and those who are locked up in prisons–for standing for justice and holiness.
There are so many people who are mistreated that this space is not room enough to enumerate them. But there are people who are persecuted for their faith in God; parents are mistreating children, and children are mistreating parents and grandparents; spouses are mistreating each other, governments are mistreating the people and total strangers are abusing and mistreating those they encounter. Lord help us all to seek You for wisdom in all situations! For anyone who mistreats someone else, they demonstrate they have not received the love of God, are incapable of loving themselves and therefore, cannot love others. We cannot give or demonstrate what we do not have!
Lord, help us to keep looking to You to know how we are to do all You have asked us to do. Help us to keep on keeping on, doing all that pleases You, mindful of the fact that You know our hearts and see all we do.