The Bible commends virtues such as patience, kindness, and gentleness. It also commands hospitality, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling” – 1 Peter 4:9. But, as with most things, moderation is also important and very few principles in the Bible stand alone. It’s always a good idea to maintain the center of biblical tension by looking for the other side of any given principal.
In late 1935 C. S. Lewis had a house full of visitors and it appears they were starting to wear out their welcome. In writing to his good friend Arthur Greeves on December 7 Lewis alludes to a verse in the New Testament book of James, James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction . . .” and puts his own spin on it when speaking of his hospitality:
“. . . however, the thing’s a duty and there’s an end of it: tho, by the bye, as W. and I were saying the other day, the New Testament tells us to visit the widows, not to let them visit us!”1
It was time for the visitors to move on but they didn’t know it. Note to self: “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you” – Proverbs 25:17.
1. Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949, Vol. II (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 169.