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Making Strangers Out of Those Closest to Us

In my adult life, I move quite a bit. In fourteen years, I’ve lived in six different places, five different states. Talk about being the new girl, right? I know a bit about how it feels to be a stranger.

Yet through today’s readings, the Holy Spirit is prodding me to dig into my heart and soul and push the limits of my comfort zone. He wants me to seek holiness and bring Christ deep into my soul. Those deep dark corners where grudges dwell, where angry, negative, resentful thoughts reside, where Love hasn’t been welcomed yet. He wants me to see the people I’ve treated as strangers.

The words in Leviticus: “You shall bear no hatred for your brother, take no revenge, cherish no grudge. . .love your neighbor as yourself,” paired with the words of Jesus about welcoming the stranger have been working on my heart since I first read these readings together. I’m starting to understand that when Jesus talks about being the stranger who is given no welcome He’s not only talking about the new girl in town. While we are called to welcome the stranger who we do not know, He’s also talking about those near and dear who we can treat us like strangers when we’re hurt.

Am I possibly holding a grudge as I grumble about dirty socks left by the couch, groan about a project that’s hard to wrap up with my kids, or gripe about a friend whose actions are bothering me? These negative thoughts can hurt my relationships by putting distance in my heart between myself and  those nearest to me. If I let it continue, I make strangers out of them.

Ouch! It stings when the Spirit sheds light in those dark corners, and it is hard to overcome that gap and know my loved ones again.

Now is a perfect time to turn back to the Lord and seek healing, to ask the Holy Spirit for grace and courage to reach out to our loved ones, for the ability to love the person we’ve been distant from.

“Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before you, O Lord.” Let my thoughts not be resentful and filled with grudges. Let your healing graces change my heart, O Lord, so that I truly do welcome the stranger, love my neighbor, and meet You in every person near to me.

Gina Fensterer is a wife, daughter, mother, friend, homeschooling mama and Colorado native. You can find out more about her here.

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Colleen W
    March 6, 2017 at 6:51 am

    I am so disappointed that the daily readings have been taken off! Such a bummer!

    • Reply
      Jenna
      March 7, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hi Colleen!

      They appear on our site at 5am EST. They are directly from USCCB, so once they go up on the USCCB site, they appear on ours! It’s a miracle!

      Thank you for your support!

      -Jenna

  • Reply
    Katherine Gannon
    March 6, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Lovely reflection! Just wanted to point out that the daily readings are once again missing; I do not know if that was intentional but if it was not, hope you can fix it!

    • Reply
      Jenna
      March 7, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hi Katherine!

      They appear on our site at 5am EST. They are directly from USCCB, so once they go up on the USCCB site, they appear on ours! It’s a miracle!

      I hope you have a beautiful Tuesday!

  • Reply
    Janet
    March 6, 2017 at 8:17 am

    What are the Bible readings for today? I am not seeing them with today’s devotional. Thanks.
    Beautiful and thought provoking bringing me into prayer.

    • Reply
      Janet
      March 6, 2017 at 8:18 am

      I see them now☺

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    March 6, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Thank you for your thoughts today, Gina; they really spoke to me. May God bless you and keep you…

    • Reply
      Gina
      March 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Stephanie, I’m so grateful. Have a blessed week, Sister in Christ. –Gina

  • Reply
    Mary
    March 6, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Gina, all I can say is…OUCH – & change is always hard when you move to a new town but even more so when the change is in the inner recesses of our own heart.
    Come Holy Spirit, Come!
    Thanks for a great reflection on today’s Bible readings,
    Mary

    • Reply
      Gina
      March 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Mary–You’re welcome. I’m touched to hear that you appreciated my reflection. May God bless your week.

  • Reply
    Monica
    March 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Kari
    March 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks for this reflection today. Well done. I had to copy the final scripture passage & prayer in my journal to re-read later!

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