Sadly, few of us create homes for each other. The fact that people can live together under the same roof and maintain hour after hour of chilly silence is a mystery to me. Something inwardly whispers outrage. The fact that even Christians can commit this abomination against communion is despicable.
We must learn to share our lives, to intermingle thoughts and emotions, and to thereby consecrate our tiny dwellings in this large world as a place in which His Presence is pleased to abide. Disunity is a sure sign that He has not been allowed to become a guest within our inner beings, and therefore has no place in our material abodes either.
The world needs models. We must, for its sake if no other, institute hostels of love and of peace. We need to flesh out the trite “there’s a welcome here,” by affirming it in our lives together before we try to extend it to the society at large.
All of our homes—whether those of married people, of single roommates, or of singles and marrieds joining in community—have the same positive potential. Each household has the option of creating family. A marriage license is not a written guarantee that relationships will flourish. Our counseling calendar, as well as the secular statistics, have amply proven that a ceremony and shared bed with resultant offspring do not a family make.
The word “family” holds for me connotations of closely bonded ties, loyalty deeper than understanding, an almost mystical rapprochement, support unto death, unfaltering acceptance, ready encouragement, sustaining and comforting love. I am aware that I expect a great deal from this relationship. And, I know that the life experiences of many have forced them to think of family in completely opposite terms: competition, jealousy, haranguing, lack of acceptance, even bitter hatred.
It is important to understand, therefore, for synoptical reasons, the significance I attach to the term “family.” I truly believe that whenever we gather together under one roof, be it in a dormitory, a community, or a singular dwelling, we have the opportunity of creating family.
Whether this occurs or not is a matter of choice and discipline. We choose whether to make our household relationships rich and rewarding, cherishing and trusting—or the opposite. Our attitude is what determines if that rare miracle of closeness will occur. We all—husband and wife, career girls living together, medical students sharing an apartment—have the opportunity of forming this miraculous unit.
Award-winning author Karen Mains continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.