07 Nov 3 Ways to Show Hospitality to the Kids in Your Neighborhood
We all have that one neighbor-the one whose kids have a potty mouth or are flat out mean to your kids. Is God putting it on your heart to show them love but you don’t know where to start? Here are 3 ways you can show hospitality to your neighborhood kids to help you get you started.
Why Should We Show Hospitality to Them?
There’s a family that lives in my neighborhood who live a lifestyle that we don’t agree with. It’s hard when you’re a parent and you have to decide where that fine line is between being a light to others and what’s going to be too much for your kids. For a brief moment, I was concerned about the neighbor kids spending so much time with my kids.
I was leery of the worldly influence those boys would have on my kids. But, one day as I was doing dishes and praying about all of this, God whispered to me that my home is an opportunity for those boys to see Christ. They are so broken, and we have the opportunity to show them how much God loves them. And, by opening up my home to them, my kids can love on them all while I am there to be the gatekeeper of my home and to ensure that my kids stay safe.
1. Make Your Home Inviting
After God whispered those words to me that day, I decided I was going to make my home the place where those boys wanted to be. I make them snacks when they’re here. I try to always have cookies or banana bread on hand. They freely come in whenever they want and can get toys or go play out in our backyard. I want my home to be a place of comfort and love.
What are some things you currently do or could do to make your home more inviting?
2. Don’t Turn Them Away
This one can be hard because if you’re leery about some kids, you can find excuses why they can’t play when they come knock on your door. After I became purposeful about making my home an inviting place for them, those boys started coming over all the time. It was hard for me to not get annoyed because they would interrupt our routine.
I had to keep reminding myself how important it was for us to love on them. Even when they knock on our door at dinnertime, I don’t turn them away. They have shared a few meals with us, and I hope that we’re sharing Jesus with them.
3. Ask Yourself What’s More Important
There are a few things that I have had to let go of when I decided to show hospitality to the neighborhood kids. First off, I had to give up my routine and schedule that I cling to dearly. You see, those boys always get home at around 5 and come straight over to our house, anxious to play. That is usually my quiet time when my toddler is sleeping, and I get to write. Now, it’s usually interrupted by knocks on the door which makes the dog bark which wakes up my 2-year old.
Secondly, I had to give up my clean carpets. Those boys love to run through our house from the front door to the back door and don’t like to take their shoes off. But, what’s more important- my carpet or those sweet little boys? My routine or them getting to see the love of Jesus?
What Has Happened Because of Our Hospitality?
I don’t want to go into too many details about this family to keep their privacy, but I can tell you that we’re seeing fruits of opening our home to them. There are certain behaviors that have stopped recently. Our other neighbors have commented on the behaviors they have seen changed in those boys.
Someone might say that this is just a coincidence, but I firmly believe it’s because they have been shown the love of Jesus. Our home might be the only time they’ll be exposed to who God is. I hope that maybe someday those boys will look back on their childhood here in this neighborhood and decide that they want what we have. Maybe they’ll come to Christ all because they got to jump on our trampoline and eat our cookies.