OPENING OUR SPACE BEYOND OUR BOUNDARIES.
By Makhupe Angara
Suppose a friend or neighbor asks to spend a night, a day, a week, or even a month with you in your home. It might be okay but it also might feel a bit awkward, right? We might ask them questions about their needs for comfort, or express a need of our own. What if a stranger asks for a favor of accommodation from us? Itis almost impossible to give them a straightforward, “yes” considering the current dubious social injustices that trample our daily lives so unsuspectingly. It is good to help but bizarre to respond so easily to such a request. Who deserves the blame for this phenomenon if at homes and schools since our youth we are taught not to trust strangers?
My quiet mornings of Bible study puzzle me sometimes, especially when I am required to apply the words I read to daily life. For instance, the story of the Shunamite woman with Elisha the prophet in 2Kings 4:8-37, this is an excerpt among a few others in the Bible that cast me into a sea of deep thoughts. I really wanted to understand what was going through her mind as she was making the extra room for Elisha. It is amazing how the story ends. Because of her hospitality she receives a miracle - a baby boy for which she had dreamt of for a long time.
It is an honest risk to offer a helping hand to strangers. But despite the risk, God calls us to practice hospitality. It is a Christian obligation to help without the string of personal interest attached. Common sense and discernment are necessary however. I can remember a time when I helped two strangers by giving them directions and they ended up conning me. Besides the testimonies I often listen to from others, how can I forget the number of times I opened a room to strangers and they later became a stepping stone that led me to where I am today? It is a mystery how encounters with strangers, large and small, influence our lives. We need to be sensitive and open space our hearts and homes so that our lives may be a place that is welcoming.
Opening our space may not necessarily be about being kind to strangers. It includes people outside of our close friends and family so dear to us; those in our classes, age group and entirely within our social, religious, political and economic edge. We should yearn to open our spaces for those at the margin too. Those we have categorized to be at the extreme of our perimeters. We should always strive to be like Jesus- the most righteous man sandwiched between the prostitutes, the thugs, and other persons cast aside.
Reflect; What hospitality can you extend when being kind to others means risking your own life?
What does it mean to you to be sensitive in helping those beyond your daily physical and emotional perimeters?