The gift of hospitality is something some have while others do not. There are times you visit a person and you do not feel so welcome. They shutter at ever move your children make and you begin to feel that their home is made of glass. The longer you tarry, the more that could go wrong!
I have visited places where they do not feed you. On extended visits, there have been times when I would look around and wonder if they even feed themselves. Places that are stocked to the gills with food, yet you feel uncomfortable to ask or to even imply that they prepare something for you and your family. When you have to fend for yourself at the local grocery store, you start to get the picture that your presence is a heavy burden.
Other places are warm with a welcoming spirit. They are concerned for your welfare, that you are fed, offered things to drink, and a comfortable place to rest. Those are the places you feel right at home!
I have already wrote about this kind of hospitality in my book and it is good to learn about that kind of etiquette. But today I want to talk about a different kind of hospitality and that is...
Hospitality of the Mind
Hospitality of the Mind is how you care for your thoughts.
When negative thoughts come knocking at your door, what do you do? Do you let them in? Do you care for their need to be fed?
We need to get into the habit of treating thoughts just as we treat our company. When a bad guy comes to the door, what do we do? We don't let him in! We may even point a gun in that direction and warn him to STAY AWAY! But when a bad thought comes to the door of our mind, we often open the door and say, "Come on in! Have a seat. Is there anything I can get you?" We treat those thoughts so good that they want to stay, and then we poison ourselves.
We feed into those thoughts and soon enough those thoughts grows into cancer. The thoughts spill over and affects our entire life! Just like bad company, that would steal, kill, or destroy, those thoughts, if left in our mind will steal our joy, kill our peace, and destroy our hope.
I have invited bad people into my home at times. With my open door philosophy, I bring trouble at times. My heart is ready to pour into others the second they come knocking at my door and it is my own fault that I do not give time to ask for wisdom and discernment on what kind of person is standing there wanting to be fed.
I have had homeless people sleeping in my living room to find out every word that came out of their mouth was lies. And then I broke down our security and let the enemy know all the ways in and where everything is in our home. Most times I feel this compassion that overrides my sense of judgment. My husband comes home with a houseful of people he never had the chance to read. More often than not, after a couple of minutes around the strangers, the red flags start going up in his mind. My husband can read what they are up to and he has to strategically figure out a way to get rid of them.
I have put all that drama on my poor husband more times than I can count. It is a lesson I have been slow to learn through the years but every time it happens I get a little closer to learning the art of GUARDING THE DOOR to our home.
Just like I need to be diligent to guard my door from letting crazy people just come in and have access to my family, I need to be even more diligent to guard the door of my mind and heart from negative and unfruitful thoughts. It is easy to feed a bad thought, especially when it is a bad thought about someone else who has wronged you. We can feed that thought so good that we end up bitter. That bitterness turns into anger and the more it is fed and dwelled upon, it leads into hatred. And hatred is of no use. It only hurts us in the end.
So when a bad thought comes in, we need to slam the door in its FACE!!! Say, "I will not let you in to steal my joy! There is no room for you today!"
You see, there is only so much room in this mind God gives to us. There needs to be a constant flow of good going in and bad going out. Even more importantly, if we stop the bad from coming into our minds in the first place, we are that further ahead. When it comes to the mind, we need to be sure to have zero hospitality to those thoughts that are negative.
On the Flip side...
When good thoughts come knocking on the door, we should open the door of our mind, let those thoughts in and feed them so they stay. We should give attention to those thoughts, we should care for them. I will leave you with these great words from scripture...
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."