Pursuing Hospitality: What About Non-Christians?

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One of the great difficulties for many of us is that we have friends or family members that are non-Christians. How do we practice hospitality towards those who are not believers? Each situation is different and will require wisdom, but here are some basic guidelines. If you have questions about a specific situation then talk to your elders.

First, showing hospitality to non-believers can be a good way to evangelize. There is no better picture of the gospel than eating and drinking with sinners, showing them kindness, and being friends with them. But do not use the meal as a way to spring the gospel on them. If you invite them over for a meal, invite them over for a meal. Don’t tell them it is a meal and the try to slide the gospel in the backdoor. That way they know what they are getting into and don’t feel duped. Of course, if the opportunity arises to talk about Christ take it. Just don’t force it.

One of the best ways to show people Christ is by inviting them into your home and letting them see your daily living. This would include prayer before meals, family worship, discipline of the children, love for your wife, etc. In other words, if someone comes in to your home for an evening they should see Christ preached through the way you live. You should pray that this would eventually open a door for you to preach Christ with your words.

Second, normally you should not invite someone into your home who claims to be a Christian, but is living in open unrepentant sin. Do not sit down at a table, pretending the person is a brother or sister in Christ, while they are engaged in high handed rebellion against God. I Corinthians 5:9-11 makes this clear. It can be difficult to determine how to apply these verses in specific situations. If you have questions talk to your elders or church leaders.

Third, you should not invite over non-Christians who are promoting their non-Christian views and lifestyles, especially if you have young children. I would invite over a sexually immoral non-Christian. However, I would not invite over a sexually immoral non-Christian who wanted me to join them in their sexual immorality or was interested in getting my children to see things their way. If they are pushing their sin or their false views I would avoid inviting them, unless it is for a debate. Usually, this is not the case. Most non-Christians you invite into your home will know you are a Christian and will respect that. However, as our society becomes more anti-Christian do not be surprised if non-Christians try to persuade your children or you on your own turf. If the person is recruiting for the world, you should be cautious in inviting them in.

Fourth, you should be cautious about going and eating dinner with non-Christians in their home. When you go into someone’s house you are subject to their rules. There are occasions where this is okay. But I would exercise caution, especially if you have young children.

Finally, the priority in your hospitality should be Christians (John 13:35 and Galatians 6:10). These verses are not excuses to ignore the unbelieving world. If you can minister to non-believers you should. But if you have to make a choice, and some of us do, then invite over Christians. As John 13:35 points out, this is evangelism.